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Fledgling Clarkson sorority making its mark on Potsdam

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POTSDAM — Call them the seven sisters. What they lack in manpower, they make up for in generosity, determination and sisterhood.

The members of the Clarkson colony of Kappa Delta Chi, a service sorority established on the campus in 2011, organized the monthly Roses for Relief donation drive.

The event gathers household products for local struggling families in the Potsdam area. Sorority members accept donations at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Accepted donations include toilet paper, feminine and hygiene products and clothes.

Amanda P. Calton, the sorority’s service officer and an Ogdensburg native, knows first-hand the north country’s need.

“There is a lot of poverty in this area,” she said. “Times are tough with the economy, too.”

Ms. Calton said the sorority looked for an area of need within the community.

“One of our sisters brought up that in their community, once a month they set up boxes for people,” she said. “A lot of people think of food and clothing drives, but these are items that people need as well.”

Founded in February, the drives thus far have generated good response, Ms. Calton said.

“Everybody at the church seems very excited about it, as well. It seems like there is a lot of positive response,” she said. “There are some people who come fairly regularly and they actually pick up for multiple families.” Their friendly working relationship with the church allowed the sisters to personally meet some of the recipients of their efforts.

Kappa Delta Chi was founded at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, as a service sorority, an attribute the nascent Clarkson colony is happy to bring to the north country. Members already have worked with local churches, schools and libraries.

“We’ve done a couple of cultural awareness things,” Ms. Calton said. “We did a hunger feast that shows the disparity between the lower end of economic classes and the higher end, how the lower end ends up with so little food while higher classes eat steak for dinner.”

In a hunger feast, a small percentage of attendees eats large portions of high-quality food, a larger percentage eats slightly less well while the majority of the attendees eat poorly or not at all.

Ms. Calton said the sorority was just getting started. As it grows, it is considering expanding its efforts beyond Potsdam and enlisting the help of other Greek organizations.

“That is something that we have talked a little bit about,” she said. “We have been wanting to get more involved with Greeks around the area.”

The next Roses for Relief donation drive takes place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. June 30.

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