Written by Gabriel Huff // Photo provided by Emily Hutcheson
Charities began playing a role in Spring Sing in 2006.
At the conclusion of each show, thousands who flocked to Searcy would watch social clubs support a local charity of their choice by presenting a check.
This year Dr. Steven Frye, chair of the theatre department and director of Spring Sing, didn’t just want clubs dispensing checks. He sought to go further by challenging the seven different Spring Sing shows to engage in one service project with their chosen charities.
“We wanted to have more involvement with the clubs with the charities they were supporting,” Frye said. “I mean it’s really nice to be able to hand a check to a charity and say, ‘Hey, this is to help you do your work,’ but it’s something else again when you give your time and heart to those same charities.”
Since 2006, Spring Sing has raised over $100,000 for local charities, donating $7,000-8,000 a year, Frye said.
Social clubs select their charities in the fall semester, either from a pre-approved list or by obtaining approval to support a different organization.
Sophomore James Stone, one of the Spring Sing directors for the show consisting of men’s social club Gamma Sigma Phi, men’s social club Theta and women’s social club Pi Theta Phi, helped coordinate service efforts with his show’s chosen charity: Sparrow’s Promise, an organization that provides foster care, supervised visitation and a space for children to receive immediate care.
For their service project, the clubs bought clothing from The Sharing Shoppe, a thrift store that gives its proceeds to Sparrow’s Promise. The members then wore the purchased outfits to a Spring Sing rehearsal. Stone said he liked seeing the difference the service project makes in supporting his charity.
“To me, it added a lot more connectedness with the charity itself and really feel that we developed a bit more of a relationship with them,” Stone said. “We know them a little bit more. [It’s] just a more intimate way to give back to the community when we’re involved like this.”
The Sunshine School, a non-profit K-12 school for students with special needs that also possess pre-K and adult education programs, is receiving donations from women’s social clubs Ju Go Ju and Ko Jo Kai and men’s social clubs Sub-T 16 and Titans this year.
Director Sally Paine, who has been teaching at Sunshine School for more than 40 years, said she believes clubs have been supporting the school through Spring Sing since 2006. Costs for the school continue to rise, so every donation is beneficial, she said.
“It helps us to be able to continue to provide the services for our students that they need,” Paine said.
For their service project this semester, members of the clubs supporting the school visited to play a variety of games and present part of their Spring Sing show, Paine said.
Frye was happy with the results of the Spring Sing service projects as clubs jumped to meet the challenge. He now plans to make those projects an annual tradition.
“Our students are some of the most altruistic people I’ve ever met,” Frye said. “They’re willing to serve.”