The council overseeing the University of Arizona’s fraternities is kicking its partnership with a Tucson charity up a notch.
The interfraternity council tripled its donation to the Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse. Since 2011, it has been donating $10,000 annually. This year, the council gave $30,000.
The partners also plan to expand education on domestic violence and related issues to fraternity members and the National Panhellenic Council, which oversees sororities. It had previously been available to the council and fraternity leadership.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Nick Loper, outgoing president of the council.
The partnership began when the interfraternity council was searching for a local charity to support and build a relationship with, he said.
“We really wanted to find an organization that was doing a lot in the Tucson area but also that really aligned with our values,” he said.
Loper said he and others at the council recognized the importance of ending domestic violence and understanding men’s role in doing so. Through the partnership, the council’s members had discussions about intervening, and identifying and helping victims and abuse.
“This is totally something we as a community needed to step up to,” he said.
Since then, the council has participated in several events and fundraisers and its members have volunteered for Emerge.
The council has not only donated money to the cause but also made sure to help its members understand their roles in preventing and intervening in domestic violence situations, said Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, CEO of the Emerge Center.
Having young men engaged in learning about preventing domestic abuse is an important factor in ending the issue altogether, especially because domestic abuse is mostly seen as a women’s issue, he said.
The council could have chosen to spend the money, which comes from fees, on anything it wanted, Mercurio-Sakwa said. It could have thrown a huge party for the members.
Instead, the council chose to donate the money to help improve the community and taking part in changing the culture, he said. “It’s an investment in the community.”