Each year, Pi Kappa Phi dedicates an entire week to raising awareness and funds for the Ability Project. This
year was no exception.
The fraternity sponsored a “No Boundaries Week” Sept. 18–21 on the University of Toledo’s main campus.
The week was full of events for UT students to learn about the Ability Experience. On Monday, they hosted a night of mini golf. Tuesday was “Pie a Pi Kapp,” where students paid to shove a pie in a member of the fraternity’s face. On Wednesday they had water balloons and on Thursday members asked students to sign the pledge.
“The term ‘No Boundaries’ is used because we emphasize that everyone has their own unique strengths and abilities, and we strive to prove that there is no limit to what we as humans can do,” Jacob Drees, a second-year master of education student, said.
The Ability Project has been Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy since 1977 and was originally named PUSH (Play Units for the Severely Handicapped), which focused on therapeutic playground equipment for children with disabilities. They now seek to raise money and awareness while serving people with disabilities in the community.
The vision of the Ability Project is to “create a community, one relationship at a time, where the abilities of all people are recognized and valued.”
Pi Kappa Phi raised $769 for the Ability Project. However, raising money wasn’t its first priority, Dallas Johnson, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major said.
“Our goal is to spread awareness for the Ability Experience, as well as for those with physical and mental disabilities,” Johnson said. “Every year, we have a canvas for students to sign our pledge to stop using the R-word [retarded]. It’s great to voice our opinion about students not using this word. Without us spreading the word to end the word, some may not realize the negativity they are spreading by using it.”
Johnson, secretary of Pi Kappa Phi, spoke about how much this organization means to him and other members of Pi Kappa Phi.
“When looking at Pi Kapp, you will notice that we are very diverse, whether that be race, religion, political views, etc. But the reason our brotherhood is so strong is because of the Ability Experience,” Johnson said. “If you were to say we have an Ability Experience event going on, I guarantee that every one of our members will drop whatever they are doing, or have planned, to attend this event; that's how passionate we are.”
Drees said there are several ways to get involved in helping those with disabilities.
“The first way to get involved would be to always raise awareness and be an advocate for people with different abilities,” Drees said. “Next, there is an organization on campus called Best Buddies where students get paired with another student that has a disability. Off campus, Sunshine Communities is always looking for volunteers.”
Drees said Pi Kappa Phi will be hosting a dinner called Pi Kapp Pasta to raise funds for the Ability Experience Friday, Dec. 7, from 6-10 p.m. at its fraternity house in McComas Village.
“This event is important because it allows us as students to make a difference in our community by spreading awareness and raising funds for those who need it,” Johnson said.