WVU Greek Life raises money for Circle of Sisterhood

MORGANTOWN — Lifting someone up requires, well, heavy lifting.

And, in the case of what was happening Sunday afternoon at CrossFit Ridgeline, lots of squats and other stretching exercises, also.

That’s why all those WVU Greek Life denizens were doing all of the above at the fitness facility on Willey Street.

The sorority and fraternity members came out for a cardio-competition that showed their heart for Nicaragua.

Specifically for the young women of that Central American country who are often denied the right to an education because of poverty or other political particulars.

That’s what the aptly named “Squats for Schools” event was about.

All those squats, lifts and other exercises were engaged to raise money to build a school next year in Nicaragua.

WVU’s Panhellenic Association, which oversees Greek Life activities at the university, partnered with Circle of Sisterhood, a North Carolina-based organization founded on that mission in 2010.

Circle of Sisterhood annually reaches out to colleges and universities across the country — particularly women in sororities — for its work.

In eight years, the nonprofit raised nearly $900,000, which went to help build schools in 22 different countries.

Rachel Rogers, the WVU student who helped organize Sunday’s event, said she was gratified and heartened that Greek Life here is now part of that effort. Rogers is an executive community member of the university’s Panhellenic Association.

“Well, we’ve got a pretty turnout,” she said, yelling over the loud music that filled the workout space. “And it’s for a good cause.”

“Empowerment,” may have been the unspoken watch-word of the day, and not just because of all those weights being hefted at CrossFit Ridgeline.

That’s why Circle of Sisterhood’s school-build component is so important, it said.

Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women, the organization reports, with 32 million fewer girls in schools than boys, the world over.

Education means enlightenment and earning power, Circle of Sisterhood said.

“We don’t know yet where the school we’re raising money is going to be built,” Rogers said.

“We’re going to send a group from WVU when they start the build. That’s exciting.”

On Sunday on Willey Street, it was also getting to be exhausting.

Katie Friday, for instance, was getting increasingly winded.

“Yeah, you just go from one activity to the next,” said the student, who just finished a round of squats with weights.

“They’re measuring the reps you take and the calories you burn. It’s pretty intensive.”

While each chapter was competing for prizes, the big prize was to come in Nicaragua.

Rogers, whose preferred workout is running and not strength conditioning, gave a mock-grimace at a collection of weights on the floor, at the ready for hoisting.

Then, she smiled.

“I think I’m gonna be pretty tired at the end of this,” she said. “But it’s OK.”

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