Crafty cans: ETSU Greeks donate thousands of canned food items to Second Harvest Food Bank

Zach Vance • Nov 10, 2016 at 7:06 PM

Call it a “Super Homecoming” team-up.

As part of Homecoming week, several East Tennessee State University fraternities and sororities teamed Thursday to craft five structures out of thousands of donated canned food items. This year’s theme was related to superheroes. 

Beginning around 8 a.m., five teams, each consisting of two Greek chapters, began carting food into “The Cave” at ETSU’s Student Center to construct their superhero-themed representations.

Members from Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Kappa stacked around 800 cans of whole kernel corn, Bush beans and other food varieties to create a Superman logo with an Greek sigma symbol replacing the signature “S.” 

But Thursday wasn’t the first time the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Kappa team had created that exact design. 

“This past week (we) would build it, so this isn’t the first time. We went through and practiced (making the Superman logo),” said Jacob Aylward, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. 

The practice was apparent, as Aylward and his four other team members were relaxing on a nearby couch by the 3 p.m. deadline. 

“It’s a great thing to give back to the community,” Aylward said. “That’s what we’re all about is doing community service. This isn’t the only thing we do. We have multiple philanthropies for the community and for the school.”  

Meanwhile, Sigma Chi members and Alpha Xi Delta members had also finished creating a similar design consisting of an ETSU logo and a Green Lantern logo. 

Sigma Chi member Elijah Lambert said his team arrived around 8 a.m. and began lugging 1,250 cans into the Culp Center. 

“We started raising money and getting can donations about a month ago. Everybody in our chapter has been bringing five cans to our meetings as well, so that’s how we compiled so many,” Lambert said. 

“It just feels awesome (to give back). No matter who wins this, we’re getting together and donating it all to Second Harvest Food Bank (of Northeast Tennessee), so it’s good to see that.” 

Katie Nantz and her team of Alpha Delta Pi and Sigma Phi Epsilon members were still scrambling to finish their concept of ETSU mascot Bucky driving a Batmobile just as 3 p.m. rolled around. 

Nantz said the idea was a combination of what the two Greek organizations had created during last year’s Homecoming contest, Sigma Phi Epsilon had created a Mario Kart vehicle and Alpha Delta Pi made an ETSU mascot Bucky. 

Several other creations, including a Captain America shield and a smiley face, were also being judged. 

Margot Ledford, organizer of the event and chairwoman on the Homecoming committee, said the judges’ results would be announced Friday. There will winners in two categories: one for the canned creations and one for the amount of food donated to the food bank. 

Last year, over 63,500 pounds of food was collected by Second Harvest during the event. The food drive has been a part of ETSU’s homecoming activities for 19 years. 

“I was just amazed by how willing groups are able to donate and how they were able to donate, so that was interesting to see,” Ledford said. 

Email Zach Vance at [email protected] Follow Zach Vance on Twitter at @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP.

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