By Shannon Geary, Features Editor

What do you think of when you hear “fraternity?”  Most people will answer with drinking, brotherhood, and parties. But philanthropy? Not usually, but the University of Missouri—St. Louis chapter of the Sigma Tau Gamma (Sig Tau) fraternity is working to change that.

February 22 was the beginning of Sig Tau’s second annual Philanthropy Week with all donations going to the Special Olympics of Missouri. February 22 and 23 was spent collecting donations at a table in the Nosh while February 25 called for a Dine and Donate event at a local Chevy’s where 15 percent of every bill was donated. On February 26 there was a dodgeball tournament in the Recreation and Wellness Center and on February 27 the Sig Tau’s took part in the annual Polar Plunge.

We sat down with fraternity president Gary Arturo II, junior, criminology and criminal justice, to talk about philanthropy and Sig Tau.

The Current (TC):  Why Special Olympics?

Gary Arturo (GA):   As a national organization the Sigma Tau Gamma  fraternity incorporated throughout the country they chose, whenever they were founded, their philanthropy to be Special Olympics…Sig Tau’s, no matter where you go, no matter what chapter they do, they always are devoting some sort of fund raisers or time to Special Olympics.

TC:  Why is philanthropy important to Sig Tau’s?

GA:  Well I think this speaks on behalf of any fraternity but one of the biggest things is service. Whenever we’re going to recruit new guys we make sure that they know everything that we’re about. So obviously, you’ll hear brotherhood, you’ll hear a good way to get involved on campus, get your name out there, [and] meet a lot of people if you’re new to the campus. But what we pride ourselves on is giving back to the community and giving back to different organizations that need help…It’s just important for us specifically, just because we like to get our name out there, doing good in the community and giving back to the community that [has] us.

TC:  Do you have any particular plans as president?

GA:  I came into it with a few set goals. One being, first and foremost, [is] raise the chapter cumulative GPA to a two point eight. We’ve already raised it from what was a two four, two five, to a two seven so we’re on track to…reach my goal by next semester. Also, we’re sitting at a 35 man roster right now and the goal for by the end of fall 2016 is at a 55 man roster. So we’re on track for that. One of my big goals when I was first running for president was raise $3,000 for Philanthropy Week so we’ve surpassed that. I want to log a lot more community service hours as a fraternity, as a chapter. I just want to get our name out there on campus and do more on campus events. Maybe co-sponsorships with [other] organizations, different things than just…obviously people know Sig Tau for frat parties and stuff but realize that just because we like to have fun and stuff on Friday nights we also like to get up early Saturday mornings and go do community service…we’ll do it all.

TC: You guys had fun?

GA: Yeah, had a lot of fun, had a lot of support from, obviously students and different organizations…we’re appreciative and hopefully this just keeps growing and we can raise more and more money for valuable organizations.

The second annual Sigma Tau Gamma Philanthropy Week ended with the Polar Plunge in Maryland Heights with 15 Sig Tau’s jumping into Creve Coeur Lake for Special Olympics. The Sig Tau’s raised a total of $4,625 for Special Olympics of Missouri.

UMSL's Sig Tau's at the Polar Plunge in Maryland Heights
UMSL’s Sig Tau’s at the Polar Plunge in Maryland Heights
UMSL's Sig Tau's plunge into Creve Couer Lake for Philanthropy Week
UMSL’s Sig Tau’s plunge into Creve Couer Lake for Philanthropy Week