Western Courier

Pi Kappa Phi travels to Iowa to impact the lives of people with disabilities

12 members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Western Illinois Univeristy traveled
to Des Moines, Iowa to build accessible amenities for people with disabilities.

Marc Ramirez/ News Editor

12 members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Western Illinois Univeristy traveled to Des Moines, Iowa to build accessible amenities for people with disabilities.

Marc Ramirez, News editor

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“Exceptional Leaders, Uncommon Opportunities” reads the tagline of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Thirteen members and associate members traveled three and a half hours to Des Moines, Iowa to complete construction like tasks to better the recreational lives of people with disabilities.

The 13 Western Illinois University students traveled to Easterseals- Camp Sunnyside and spent three days and two nights there. Easterseals provides opportunities for people of all ages with a range of disabilities to achieve their full potential. Their goal is to change the way the world sees and defines disability. Easterseals have served 1.5 million people with disabilities and their families through various programs hosted.

Junior law enforcement and justice administration major Chris Scheer was chosen to facilitate the weekend trip among a pool of candidates from all across the Midwest region.

Through Pi Kappa Phi’s national philanthropy, The Ability Experience and Scheer participated in Build America. Build America is a six-week philanthropic trip where you travel to disability camps in the United States, and build accessible amenities for people living with disabilities. Having experience from this summer, he was a strong candidate and his experience was taken into consideration when choosing the events weekend project manager.

The men participated in an Ability Weekend, an event consisting of about 20 hours of work. They worked on projects ranging from constructing a ramp into a shed to help easily store camp equipment to making new benches to line the campfire pit.

“I really enjoyed building the amenities needed for the camp to have fun time at camp,” senior Dustin Brown said. The men worked through 50-degree weather and rain to make sure the camp would be able to have updated facilities and to ensure they would be ready to close camp by the time worse weather hit.

In the evenings they would join in on programming withcampers to help with inclusion of people with all abilities. The group participated in events like relay races, building birdhouses, pool parties and watching movies with campers.

“Many people tend to look at peoples disabilities and things that they can’t do,” junior Ryan Wands said. “We like to look at people for their abilities and constantly highlight and encourage things that people can do.”

The group from Western consisted of five freshman, three sophomores, three juniors and one senior. Thirty-one other members and associate members of Pi Kappa Phi from Illinois State University, Iowa State University and Truman State University also made the trip to help change the lives of people with disabilities.

“Seeing campers faces light up when you do so small like making them laugh really impacted me,” Tyler Pradin, a freshman associate member said. “Seeing that I can make a difference in their lives and by making them feel like superheroes makes me really happy.”

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Pi Kappa Phi travels to Iowa to impact the lives of people with disabilities