Updated 12:00 PM ET October 23, 2000
By Kristen Bertram
James Madison U.
(U-WIRE) HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Members of Phi Sigma Pi at James Madison University traded a Friday night out on the town for sweatshirts and sleeping bags to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Camping on the commons, 35 members of the coed national honor fraternity collected $1,050 for their primary philanthropy.
At sunrise on Saturday, members headed to the Multiple Sclerosis 5K Walk around Harrisonburg to continue their weekend of service. This is the second year in a row Phi Sigma Pi has raised money for multiple sclerosis. Last year they raised more than $300.
"This year we tried to make it a bigger event by camping out and then heading straight to the MS walk on Saturday morning," said junior Mike Watson, Phi Sigma Pi public relations director.
All of the money raised by the fraternity throughout the year goes toward research for multiple sclerosis.
"The majority of the brothers have a personal interest in MS, whether through a friend or a family member," said senior Lauren Carroll, Phi Sigma Pi corresponding secretary. "So it is a perfect philanthropy for our group."
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic and often disabling disease that affects the central nervous system. Those afflicted with multiple sclerosis suffer a range of symptoms from numbness in their limbs to paralysis or blindness.
"It is not well-known, so we wanted to focus on the JMU campus to increase awareness," Phi Sigma Pi President Kelly Tober, a senior, said.
Members borrowed the idea of camping out on the commons after seeing the success of other organizations on campus, Tober said. Donations were collected from students, friends and teachers who stopped by to offer support for the cause.
The money raised during the camp out will go toward research for multiple sclerosis. As of now there is no cure for the disease, which is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 30.
"The camp out is a great chance to spend time with the brothers and to know it is for a worthy cause," junior Susie Ball said. Phi Sigma Pi is continuing to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and are planning to host an a cappella concert in mid-November. The event is scheduled to feature Exit 245, new JMU group Into Him and a guest a cappella group from William & Mary.
(C) 2000 The Breeze via U-WIRE