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Positively Greek! (Follow up to Penny Wars)

November 30, 2011

What do you get when you mix a friendly little competition between various Greek organizations on campus with a local program designed to make a positive impact on the lives of local elementary school students?

If you are me, you get to sweet talk your fellow co-workers over at the Digital Media Center into making one of those really cool, over sized checks made out in the sum of $4,510!! (Thanks, Joan!!)

From L to R: Beta Theta Pi president Andrew Griffith, Volunteer Maryland Coordinator Michelle Barrow, IFC president Nick Erdenberger, Barclay Elementary School Prinicpal Jenny Heinbaugh, Kappa Kappa Gamma delegate Kana Hamada, Director of Student Activities Robert Turning, Kappa Kappa Gamma president Gabi Flaum, yours truly. Photo credit James T. VanRensselaer /

Back in October, we kicked off Greek Weekend 2011 with “Penny Wars”. In 2010, “Penny Wars” surprised us all by raising over $2,500; a figure that exceeded previous years by more than 300%! That money was donated to the “Story Pals” program at the Barclay Elementary school a few blocks from campus, giving this volunteer staffed program its first real budget.

This year, the “friendly” competition was fierce, to say the least! The final 15 minutes of “Penny Wars”, which takes place on the Krieger/Ames breezeway every year, is something akin to feeding time for a pack of starving wolves. Let’s just say you want to keep your hands clear of the fray, lest you lose a limb! OK, I’m exaggerating…slightly. The final 15 minutes are pretty crazy, though and it is definitely the time where the most money is raised. As I counted down the final seconds (from a safe distance, I might add), the paper money was flying. When the dust settled, we collected the jars and headed over to the Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union to exchange all the coins for cash, then it was back to my office to figure out which groups raised the most money. Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority took first place and in total, “Penny Wars” raised over $4,500 for the Story Pals program this year. According to Michelle Barrow, who coordinates the Story Pal volunteers at Barclay, the money raised this year will go towards some new book shelves, computer software and other much needed supplies.

A really big “thank you” from me to all of our students and groups that participated in “Penny Wars” this year, as well as all of the various Greek Weekend events all of which raised money for various charities and programs. Getting the chance to watch you folks have a little fun, raise some money and make a big difference in your community is exactly what I love about my job!

Want another chance to help out the Story Pals Program at Barclay Elementary school? During the month of December, our good friends over at Barnes and Noble JHU are offering a great deal. Purchase a children’s book to donate to the Story Pals program and receive 20% off the purchase of a book for you! You know you are going to do at least some of your holiday shopping there anyway, so go on…donate a book!! Maybe I’ll get to read your book to my Story Pal!

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