By Bridget Sjoberg | Staff Writer
After noticing an excess of unused All-University Sing shoes following the popular Baylor tradition, Houston sophomore Cooper Mohrmann came up with the idea to donate the shoes to his upcoming mission trip. With the help of his fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), Mohrmann was able to collect over 100 pairs of shoes in just a few days.
Mohrmann, a pre-dental student and member of Baylor’s American Student Dental Association (ASDA), attended a mission trip to Puerto Penasco in Mexico with the group and thought up the idea to collect shoe donations just days before leaving.
“I went on ASDA’s pre-dental mission trip for spring break and around a week before it happened, I felt the Lord put it on my heart to gather all these shoes,” Mohrmann said. “It wasn’t perfect timing because I had five tests that coming week I was stressed with that since I’m a pre-dental student and my GPA is a top priority. Even with that, I decided to send a message out and after finding guys from FIJI to help out, we went around to everyone’s different houses and apartments and gathered over 100 pairs of shoes. From there, we packaged them up and I carried three duffle bags with me on the trip.”
Mohrmann said that his idea was originally sparked by all of the shoes he noticed being unused after Sing and that witnessing his fraternity come together in such short notice for a worthy cause was an inspiring moment.
“I still had my Sing shoes and all my roommates had their shoes as well they’re brand new shoes we used only for the performance and not in practice. Most of the shoes were still in pretty good shape and I realized most would go to waste,” Mohrmann said. “The whole thing was really rewarding FIJI is a very diverse group of guys in terms of interests, but watching them all come together and seeing people deliver five to 10 pairs of shoes on my front porch or collecting shoes from houses was incredible. Within four days, we gathered 100 pairs of shoes and 60 were non-Sing shoes.”
Flower Mound junior Jake Nelson, who serves as FIJI’s president, saw the shoe donation as a way for FIJI to come together for a common cause and to represent God’s love to others.
“Donating our Sing shoes was an opportunity we had to bless the lives of the men, women and children who received them,” Nelson said. “Everyone in the chapter was excited about this opportunity to donate our shoes knowing that they were going to end up in the hands of very deserving people. As a chapter, this was such a great opportunity to show the love of Christ in another part of the world. Some of the best ways to donate can be the smallest acts it’s just a matter of looking out for those opportunities that can make a difference.”
Mohrmann serves as service and philanthropy chairman, as well as social media chairman, for FIJI. He appreciates FIJI for its ability to create unity and hopes that the public recognize the good that fraternities do for philanthropy and the community.
“To see everyone come together for a philanthropy event like this on a whim and to see that unity happen so quickly was a blessing,” Mohrmann said. “Stereotyping Greek life and all of men’s fraternities based off of the actions of often times just one individual is truly damaging. It’s important to be a voice for fraternities and to speak out—if we can get positive stories out into media, people hear about a side to fraternities that they may not hear about as much. An area fraternities need to strive towards is to advertise things they are doing that are good for the community because there is a greater amount of good that comes out of this compared to the few things that have gone wrong.”
Mohrmann said that Greek unity is another important quality that fraternities should seek to strive for on campus and that events like monthly Baylor Greek Guy’s Worship Night, which is open open to any males involved in the Greek system at Baylor, have helped to recently bring about a sense of community among chapters. Mohrmann and Hayes Alley, a member of Sigma Chi, began the event, which has now included around 40 men representing seven fraternity chapters.
Katy sophomore Hunter Nessen, a member of FIJI, hopes that fraternities on Baylor’s campus can continue to work on promoting the positive work that the groups do in the community and the ways in which chapters support one another.
“People don’t realize all the good that fraternities do, especially the fraternities at Baylor,” Nessen said. “We have done so much as a chapter in small ways to impact our community and we have many great ideas for the near future. I knew when I joined this fraternity that I would make a lot of friends but the number one thing that I have taken from being involved is how each member has helped each other grow and be better men in general.”