Project T.K.E. reaches out

Most students think fraternity life equals parties and hanging out. However, St. John’s fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) is coming together and breaking the stereotype.

During the month of March, TKE will be getting different organizations together to run Project T.K.E. When it comes to this project, however, TKE stands for Transforming Kids’ Environments.

The project consists of decorating the rooms of children that are sick at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside, Queens.

Their mission is to brighten the lives of children being treated for various conditions in a local hospital.

“I always wanted to organize an event to help children in the hospital because I feel they are missing out on so many opportunities that we take advantage of,” said Joshua Fifer, philanthropist chair of TKE and founder of the event.

Representatives from three St. John’s campuses (Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island), involving 50 organizations throughout the University will participate in Project T.K.E. These organizations include fraternities and sororities, academic and honor societies, religious, cultural, political, special interest and media organizations, St. John’s athletic teams and various administrative offices.

Volunteers aren’t limited to St. John’s. Fifer has coralled at least six local TKE chapters to participate in this event, including chapters from Hofstra, NYU, Pace University, Iona College, SUNY Stony Brook and the New York Institute of Technology.

Each organization will be given a theme around which they will create artwork to decorate a child’s hospital room. The children in the hospital are bed-ridden, and range in age from one year to 16 years rooms and constant testing and treatment, so the least we could really do is bring some of that excitement and energy into them,” said Fifer. “Just the chance to get up and walk around everyday and enjoy the basics of our lives is something that these kids do not have,” he said.

Any student can become involved by signing up prior to March 20 to help make decorations. “We will be encouraging the organizations to build a relationship with their child, if possible, and do further volunteering with them,” said Fifer. If all goes well, the organizations will make it a point to make some decorations for other special days, such as some of the major holidays and the child’s birthday.

The artwork and any other decorations will be ready by March 22and be put up in the child’s room WHEN??? . Fifer’s fraternity brothers from TKE will act as team leaders to help coordinate the activities.

“As much criticism and stereotypes fraternities are tagged with, people should take the time to learn what these organizations are involved with. This project is a perfect example of how fraternities often offer its members the opportunity to help improve not only the community they live in, but also develop essential lifelong skills such as leadership and team-work,” said Fifer

Tau Kappa Epsilon, the largest national fraternity, has chapters in over 270 colleges in the nation. It is also one of the most active fraternities on the St. John’s campus.

For more information or to sign up and join Project TKE, contact Joshua Fifer at [email protected].