Greek life organizations fundraise for terrorism victims

By Kristin LaFratta

Kristin Lafratta/Daily Collegian
(Kristin LaFratta/Daily Collegian)

A tall, white banner with a spray-painted peace sign featuring the Eiffel Tower stood in front of the Student Union Wednesday. Hundreds of colorful signatures adorned Jean Jullien’s viral illustration, inviting passersby to sign their names as well.

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity joined forces with the Iota Gamma Upsilon sorority to create #PrayForParis Awareness, a fundraiser aimed to help the victims and responders of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, as well as those who suffered from suicide bombings in Beirut and Baghdad. The event raised an estimated $300 for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a worldwide organization that provides relief for natural disasters and emergencies.

The groups quickly coordinated the event in one day.

“The chapter at whole was very eager to put something together to show support for the victims,” Sigma Phi president-elect Makenzie Schwartz said. Schwartz was one of the main organizers of the event.

The French capital was the site of deadly terrorist attacks on the evening of Friday, Nov. 13. Suicide bombers set off explosions outside the Stade de France soccer stadium and four gunmen entered the Bataclan concert venue, leaving 129 dead and more than 300 people wounded. The Islamic State took responsibility for the Paris attacks, as well as suicide bombings in Beirut and Baghdad.

The attacks in Paris hit close to home for Schwartz, who said he had friends that were attending the soccer game at the Stade de France. Although he first thought to donate to the Croix-Rouge, France’s division of the Red Cross, Schwartz felt their efforts should reach victims of terror in all places.

“There was more than just Paris, there was Baghdad, Beirut, Kenya. There’s now the bombing of the Russian plane. These funds go to different places as the IFRC sees fit,” Schwartz said.

Those who donated were offered small metal locks to represent the famous padlocks known as “love locks” on the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge in Paris. The locks symbolize support for victims and citizens of the targeted cities.

“We hope that by doing this, we can show some of our support even though we’re so far away,” IGU member Emily Orcutt said. She said that despite the cloudy and cold weather, she was happy with the turnout of the event.

Freshman Samantha Cremin signed the event banner because she believes it’s important to show solidarity to the victims and citizens of Paris.

“I think we should show our support for Paris because they showed support for us when we had 9/11,” Cremin said. “I think it’s a worldwide effort to stop terrorism.”

To donate to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Socities, visit

Kristin LaFratta can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @kristinlafratta.