Restore the Shore
In the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy the brothers of the Iota Delta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi at James Madison University are finding it hard to sit back and watch what is happening. “Many of our brothers’ families and friends have been affected by this disaster and this really hit home for us,” said senior Matthew Merritt, the chapter’s executive vice president.
The chapter decided to band together in support of those affected by the hurricane by creating “Restore the Shore” wristbands. The plastic bands on sale for $2 on-campus or $3 online are white with red lettering. Delta Sig’s national philanthropy is the American Red Cross and the brothers plan to donate the proceeds specifically to aid the relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy. Inspired by the idea of a national movement, their hope is that “Restore the Shore” becomes a rallying cry for far more than their fraternity chapter. “We felt the responsibility to start a movement,” said Merritt. “Not just a movement for our chapter but a movement that will bring the entire JMU community together and bring the country together.”
Their national organization has also gotten behind the idea. Nick Gerhardt, Delta Sigma Phi’s marketing and communication’s coordinator, said the national fraternity is mobilizing support for the “Restore the Shore” wristbands across the country by using social media. Gerhardt said he was impressed with the initiative and leadership the chapter showed in creating the concept. “They had all the steps planned out before seeking help,” he said. “They’ve done a great job and I’m really impressed.”
“Restore the Shore” is a call to action the brothers plan to sustain for the remainder of the school year. The chapter developed a yearlong philanthropy plan for raising awareness, money and action including physically helping out in areas devastated by the hurricane. Chapter President Brad Burgess has reached out to his extended family’s church in New Jersey to offer help as they begin to develop service opportunities. “Just because the hurricane is over and out of the news doesn't mean that the people in those areas stop needing our help,” he said. “The northeast shores are going to take a long time to rebuild and we need to keep in peoples’ minds to keep donating, keep wearing the bands and letting people know we are still here.”
Burgess said the fraternity brothers would do everything they can to make “Restore the Shore” a national movement. “It is amazing the things you can accomplish with a group of people that have the same goal and the same drive to give back to people who are in need,” said Burgess. “Anyone can start a movement. You just have to believe in what you are doing and we know we are doing the right thing.”
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November 12, 2012