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Cal U students standing in a group portrait.

Cal U fraternities and sororities joined together earlier this month to reach out to a nearby community in distress.

On Sept. 10 more than 60 students from 10 Greek organizations volunteered to clean up, rebuild and help to salvage houses in Connellsville, Pa., and neighboring Bullskin Township, where flooding on Aug. 28 caused heavy damage.

According to published reports, about 50 families were displaced by the flooding, and at least 29 properties have been condemned.

Senior roommates Nicole Stephens, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, and Laura Owens, a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, organized the event. Members of Sigma Kappa, Delta Zeta, Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Chi, Acacia, Theta Xi, Sigma Tau Gamma and Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) also participated.

Students used power-washers to clean houses, tore down water-damaged walls, put up insulation, shoveled mud out of sheds and even helped to salvage the remnants of a house occupied by a person with disabilities.

“The unity that these organizations

showed was phenomenal,” Stephens said. “It made me really proud to call myself part of the Greek community at this school.

“We just felt that we should be on the front lines, putting in the work, because that is much more important to some of these people than receiving a check and having to rebuild their home by themselves.”

The project also fostered unity among the students involved in Greek life.

“We saw students become friends during this event while they were knocking down walls or power-washing mud off the sides of houses,” Owens said.

One of the homes belongs to Kim Schomer’s mother-in-law, who has lived on Connellsville Avenue since 1968. Much of the house had to be gutted before repairs could begin, and Cal U students jumped in.

“The Cal U students were very eager to give a tremendous amount of help,” Schomer said. “We are very grateful.”

Clean-up efforts in Connellsville are ongoing. For more information on how to help, contact Connellsville City Hall at 724- 628-2020.