Those affected by the North Bay fires may experience the aftermath for an unforeseeable amount of time. However, there has been a significant outpour of aid from several people in the surrounding areas.
Students and staff have had their homes destroyed and their lives uprooted. In response to this, Sonoma State University created the #NomaNeeds Facebook group, which facilitates carpooling, temporary housing and other outlets needed for those affected to get back on their feet.
Sonoma State students have been a dominant volunteering force by donating to the NomaCares Center. Various student groups, including some fraternities and sororities, are also developing their own personal campaigns to raise money for the fire victims.
The Greek community at Sonoma State made major strides toward aiding fire victims. The men of Pi Kappa Phi, one of the fraternities involved with Sonoma State’s International Fraternity Council, have raised around $2,250 for North Bay fire relief.
It all began with Bryen Mariano, sophomore and member of Pi Kappa Phi, starting a GoFundMe page titled “Let’s Come Together” on the first morning of fires.
Mariano said he did not do this in order to gain praise but simply because he felt the right and compassionate thing to do was to give back to his community.
Mariano said he has always enjoyed volunteering, and with the fires terrorizing people’s lives, he felt the need to take action.
He plastered his GoFundMe page all over social media in hopes to raise awareness.
“I received a lot of support from my fraternity, and together we were able to raise $2,000,” Mariano said.
Pi Kappa Phi hosts a series of philanthropic events, one being the War of the Roses, which was held at Sonoma State for the first time from Oct. 23 through Oct. 27. For this event, a woman from each sorority is nominated and given a rose petal. A winner from one sorority is then chosen to be crowned the Rose queen. A series of week-long fundraising competitions and penny wars led into the Queen’s crowning.
The most recent winner of the War of the Roses was Sydney Adams of Gamma Phi Beta. The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy which raises money and awareness for people with disabilities, received around $1,550 through the event.
In total, the War of Roses raised $1,824. The men of Pi Kappa Phi donated about $250 of these proceeds to fire relief.
“Our fraternity saw how many people were in need of help after the fires and wanted to donate to general fire relief because we felt it was important to help support our local community; especially when we were 10 miles from the fire,” Troy Strickland, philanthropy chair for Pi Kappa Phi, said.
Another fraternity at Sonoma State, Alpha Psi, has raised over $4,000 for the fire relief fund through its GoFundMe page and other philanthropic events.
As mentioned in a previous STAR article, the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority used GoFundMe to raise $1,240, which went toward rebuilding Roseland Collegiate Prep. Several of the college’s classrooms and buildings were burned as a result of the fires.
Bianca Higuera, president of Alpha Omicron Pi, said the sorority needed to raise awareness of the issue, but also needed to show that it was “more than just the classic sorority stereotypes, and can come together with the SSU community to raise money for students who will be just like us some day,” she said.