KINGSTON, R.I.—May 3, 2010—During Greek Week in April, the University of Rhode Island’s PanHellenic Council, which represents 10 sororities and the Interfraternity Council, which represents 12 fraternities, held a book drive for First Book. The organization provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.
Since it was founded nearly 20 years ago, First Book has delivered more than 65 million books to programs serving children in need across America and Canada.
This year, URI Greeks collected 3,446 books for preschoolers through adult and 60 classics. Books are still coming in. “It was a huge success,” says Brittany Campbell, who heads First Book URI, a student-run organization since 2008. Campbell notes that First Book URI is the only chapter in the state.
During Greek Week, sororities and fraternities paired together, collecting books from their members. Max Moss, vice president of programming for IFC and Lauren DiStefano, vice president of philanthropy and programming for Panhellenic, managed the drive. Greek chapters competed to collect the most books, thereby earning the most “points.” Although some books have yet to be counted, it appears that Phi Sigma Sigma collected the most books.
Rhode Island children from low-income families who have inadequate resources to buy age-appropriate books will be the beneficiaries of the URI Greeks’ generosity.
“Through our program, the children begin to build at-home libraries to help improve their literary skills,” says Campbell.
University of Rhode Island students (from left) Noel Slater of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Lauren DiStefano of Zeta Tau Alpha, and Jessica Severino of Phi Sigma Sigma stack some of the books they collected for First Book. URI photo by Nora Lewis.