U greeks take kids to zoo for service project

By Krista Starker, Staff Writer

U Fraternity and Sorority members led children from the Neighborhood House to Hogle Zoo on Wednesday to see lions, tigers and snakes.

Children ages 2 to 12 frolicked around the zoo, excited to see, among other things, the snow leopard lying inside its cage where they could touch the safety glass, just inches away from the fierce cat.

The annual service project, where all 12 Greek Row houses helped pay for transportation by bus, admission and a treat for the students, was delayed three weeks after Greek Week when a snow storm forced them to reschedule.

“It’s all paid for by us,” said Lauren Rice, vice president of Panhellenic Council. “It’s a great way of giving back.”

The Neighborhood House in Salt Lake City is a day care for children from low-income families that helps transport children to and from school, helps with homework and provides affordable day care for children and some adults.

Susan Gonzales, a preschool teacher for the day care, said this is an event the students look forward to every year.

“They get excited about it because they get one-on-one time, because there are so many volunteers,” Gonzales said. “I think this is something they are always going to remember.”

More than 100 greek students led a couple of children each around the zoo, stopping at interesting exhibits.

Children were especially fascinated by the exhibit showcasing the ring-tailed lemurs, a type of monkey, that were running around in a frenzy and eating fruits and vegetables. Some of the children became scared at the zoo when zebras fought at one point, kicking each other in the side.

Melissa Weddington, a freshman in pre-occupational therapy and member of Pi Beta Phi, said it was the perfect day to go to the zoo and that the student she was paired up with was very excited.

“It’s all about the tigers for him,” Weddington said.

For more information about the Neighborhood House, visit their Web site at www.nhutah.org.

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Lucas Isley

Members of Greek fraternities and sororities and children from the Neighborhood House flood through the gates of the Hogle Zoo on Wednesday. More than 70 greeks and 100 children turned out for the fun-filled day.