Sam Houston State ATOs answer the call

4 December

The Walker County United Way and Sam Houston State University’s Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity made a historic move Friday, entering into a partnership both organizations hope will be mutually beneficial.

According to ATO alumni relations officer and membership education director Matt Riedel, for the next two years the groups are “committing themselves to each other” in service and marketing on campus and in the community.

“We are going to be their army,” Riedel said. “We are committing our community service hours and manpower to help the United Way and will be a face for the organization on campus.

“They in turn will call upon us for help in their efforts, which also helps market us to the community.”

The partnership agreement is a first for both groups — one that has all entities involved excited about their future together.

“While we have had relationships with groups for individual projects,” WCUW Board President Patrick Nolan said, “this is the first time we have engaged in an ongoing agreement with a single group.

“We are ecstatic about this,” he added. “As an operation made up of only a small group of volunteers, getting a group like this to help us takes a load off of us; and as part of the university, it ties them into the community and gives us some visibility on campus.”

According to ATO member David Kelley, the two groups have already begun planning upcoming events, including the United Way’s Harlem Ambassadors basketball game in February and an ATO Golf Tournament in March.

“The partnership could not have come at a better time,” United Way Executive Director Julie Schneider said. “The Harlem Ambassadors game will require a lot of manpower to plan, sell tickets and help organize.

“We are just excited about it. This is such a unique opportunity for both of us to work together.”

Alpha Tau Omega, is a nationwide social fraternity made up of about 70 SHSU members. Its goal it to bring out leadership abilities among its members.

“We really try to push leadership,” Riedel said. “Our goal is to teach men to come out of their shell and learn to lead, and to make sure that quality is brought out in everything we do.”

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