Chi Phi Fraternity president Christopher “Kit” Faiella ’11, from Miami, Florida, says that a Greek-oriented Mission Team “only makes sense. Our organizations are philanthropy based and values based, and what better way to show that than through a [Spring Break] mission experience? There are still a lot of negative stereotypes about Greek life, and we hope this trip will help people understand what fraternities and sororities are really all about.”
Faiella has been involved in missions since high school. “I went to Honduras for three summers and was the coordinator for two of those trips. And I was part of an Episcopal youth team that worked in Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina,” he says.
He will lead the Nashville group, and Katrina Hansen ’12, from Glenville, Illinois, will serve as Reflection Guide.
Residential Life Coordinator Megan Johnson is also part of the team. “She’s our Tennessee expert,” Faiella says. “She knows a lot of people there.”
The group has been working closely with Chad Johns, Director of Mission in the Office of the Chaplain.
“Chad recommended that we look at this opportunity, and he connected us with local people,” Faiella says.
The trip will involve helping residents of Nashville continue to recover from the floods that devastated the Mid-South and killed 19 in the Nashville area on May 4, 2010.
Faiella spread the word about the Nashville experience though the Council of Fraternity Presidents and Hansen took the idea to the Panhellenic Council.
“The teams will be announced in two weeks,” he says, “and we think we’ll have a full team. Teams usually are allowed to have only eight members, but if we have a very large turnout, we may be able to take up to ten, excluding the two student leaders.”
Of course, non-Greeks may be part of the trip, but Faiella hopes for strong Greek representation.
Although the purpose of the team is to assist the people of Nashville in any way possible, Faiella also expects that the experience will result in greater unity within the OWU Greek community.
“On campus, we’re all different chapters living in different houses; this trip will give us a way to have a common cause and have conversations and connections across Greek-letter lines. And it will help us all affirm our philanthropic base,” he says. “Although I haven’t done research about other campuses, I can’t think of any other groups of Greek organizations who are uniting around a mission trip.”
Faiella, a History and Spanish major and an intern in the Office of Admission, may continue in service work following graduation. “I’ve been thinking about Peace Corps,” he says.
On a recent Theory-to-Practice trip to Nicaragua to study economics and business organization in the developing world, his travel-study group spent a great deal of time with Owen Reynolds ’07, who recently completed his Peace Corps service in that country.
“Talking with him helped me get a real sense of what that experience would be like,” Faiella says. “You don’t get much specific information in the brochures.”
Click here for more information about OWU’s Mission Teams.