Untapped Potential: Florida International Brothers Wrap Gifts for Good Cause

As the holiday season overtakes many of us with worries of finding the perfect gifts, what kind of food will find its way on the table, or travel, the simple act of giving back can be lost. But for the men of Pi-Phi Zeta at Florida International University, philanthropy has become a lifestyle.

In November, Lambda Chi Alpha, along with all other chapters on campus, began a collaboration with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF). Through “Operation Greek Elf,” chapter members are transformed into “Santa’s little helpers” and offer to wrap presents at their local mall.  For each gift wrapped, the gift owner can donate any amount to the DRIF.  Proceeds from the event will benefit research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, an illness that often begins in childhood.

With donation efforts continuing through Christmas Eve, soon-to-be chapter President Milad Finianos says it is so much more than a required Greek Community event.

“Our chapter loves to help any cause, honestly,” said Finianos.  “We are always participating on campus for Relay For Life or Dance Marathon, or other organizations.  We just jumped at an opportunity to help in any way.”

Finianos and other brothers plan to return to wrap more gifts in the coming week, eager to reach the $1,000 goal.

Operation Greek Elf is just one of the many philanthropic events Lambda Chi will participate in this year: brothers are looking forward to Relay For Life in February and Dance Marathon, benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, in April.

Though Finianos knew that philanthropy would become a large part of his identity when he joined Lambda Chi, he was unaware of how something as simple as wrapping gifts could change his outlook on life.

“Philanthropy has been such a large part of Greek life for me and I never expected it to impact me this way,” said Finianos.  “I think, as college students, we can make a huge difference and we have a lot of untapped potential.  So, I think it is crucial to understand how important it is for each brother to participate in philanthropy.”

Following the conclusion of Operation Greek Elf, Finianos has his eyes set on the future of his chapter’s philanthropic endeavors and the impact they will have on FIU’s campus.

“It’s not enough for a Lambda Chi to be known and recognized,” said Finianos, “but it [philanthropy] is a good way for each of us to learn individual life lessons and make sure that we leave a legacy behind.”