In an effort to break down barriers, members of five UNC fraternities joined together to start building a home earlier this year.
The participating fraternities – Chi Phi, Phi Delta Theta, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Chi and Zeta Psi – call themselves “Brothers for Barbara,” for the future owner who needs a home to raise her grandchildren after the death of her daughter. Together, they hope to eliminate the divide inherently created among the Greek houses by helping others through service and philanthropy.
Though brothers of each fraternity worked on the home during the entire weekend, the official kick-off occurred on the Saturday at a Leadership Build. There, members from each house, including the presidents and philanthropy chairs, assembled at the Habitat for Humanity site located on Phoenix Drive to begin the semester-long project.
The 30 volunteers were visited during the day by Aaron Bachenheimer, director of fraternity and sorority life and campus involvement; Dean Blackburn, assistant dean of students; and Patti Thorp, wife of Chancellor Holden Thorp.
“We see the opportunity to work with Habitat as a positive and constructive way that this group of fraternities can come together and give back to the community,” said Russell Hardin, a junior economics major from Atlanta and president of DKE. “It means a lot to us to see the UNC faculty’s support of the Greek system and what we are doing.”
According to the Habitat for Humanity of Orange County website, volunteers work on a home for 16 days on average. However, further professional work for essentials such as electricity and plumbing is needed after construction to make it livable. Barbara’s home will most likely be fully completed this fall, when there will also be a dedication ceremony.
As part of Habitat for Humanity policy, Barbara will also need to invest 325 hours of labor as well as closing costs and monthly mortgage payments to own her home. Brothers For was developed in mid-January when Susan Bourner, director of development of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, presented the project to members of the Inter-Fraternity Council.
“It all came together very quickly,” said Bourner. “Within a three-week period of time, the fraternities had decided to work together and build a home.”
Since then, they have also opened a Facebook page and Twitter account, both named “Brothers For” to raise awareness for their cause.
Brothers For Barbara still needs $18,400 to reach their $50,000 goal to sponsor the house, but the fraternities plan to raise the remaining amount by the end of the spring semester.
“We believe that the success of this spring build will encourage more fraternities to join the habitat for Humanity cause next fall,” Hardin said. “We hope that this project will be the beginning of a long-lasting partnership between the UNC Greek community and Habitat for Humanity.”