Greek Week Closes with Volunteering at Bergen County Horse Rescue

Photo by DJ Mahoney

Ramapo’s Greek community got to work this Saturday, painting, mending, cleaning and organizing the Bergen County Horse Rescue that sits across the street from campus, as part of this year’s Greek Week.

Every year, the Greek community on campus comes together during Greek Week, which began on April 8 and continued until Sunday, to perform an act of community service. Junior Danielle DeBenedetto, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi who works at Bergen County Horse Rescue, helped pick the location for this year’s event. Once the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life approved the location, DeBenedetto facilitated communication between the Greek Week committee and Bergen County Horse Rescue.

“I’ve been working at the farm for about a year,” she said. “At first I started doing physical labor on the farm such as cleaning stalls and taking care of the horses. Now I also handle the business aspect of the rescue because it’s a nonprofit and there’s paperwork and marketing that needs to be done. We are currently trying to expand awareness for our cause in hopes to receive more donations to help fund our rescue.”

Bergen County Horse Rescue’s mission is to “rescue, rehabilitate, protect and prevent the cruelty of horses,” according to their website. On Saturday, students were tasked with yard work, cleaning stalls and barns, painting the exterior of the barn, rewiring the chicken coop and grooming some of the horses.

“The horse rescue still was in a rebuilding phase from the effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said DJ Mahoney, the coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life. “Twenty-five students dedicated four hours on Saturday, April 16 to assist the rescue in getting back to its desired state.”

“The event was a major success,” said DeBenedetto. “Not only did the volunteers have fun and learn a lot, they also benefitted the farm by getting so much done. I couldn’t be happier with the overall attitude and enthusiasm the volunteers had, and I know everyone else that works at the farm was very appreciative of all the work that was completed because of all the extra help.”

According to Mahoney, the Greek community also participated in several other activities throughout the week to foster a sense of unity among Greek organizations, including athletic events, a trivia competition, a lip-sync event called Greek Sync and a penny wars competition to raise money to help with the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Collection jugs were set up in the student center, each painted to represent a different team. Students could donate money to their team of choice, with pennies adding points for the team and silver coins and bills subtracting points.

“I am still humbled by the charitable donations made by the Greek Week teams and other members of the Ramapo community. We were able to raise $1,364.22 and are donating it to a local organization in Flint, Michigan that is purchasing clean drinking water for families,” said Mahoney.

As to Saturday’s service event, Mahoney agreed with DeBenedetto that their work at Bergen County Horse Rescue was a success.

“I’m glad that we had an opportunity to help out our neighbor and begin building a stronger relationship with them,” he said. “The students who volunteered were very excited to work with the horses and the landowners and really were able to see the impact their work made on the site. Based on the success of this event, I hope to see similar ones in the future.”