Fraternity shows support for basketball alum’s charity

This past summer, the brothers of Phi Kappa Theta teamed up with their new philanthropy organization, Team Walker, for a fundraising walk.

According to senior Steve Stiles, a Phi Kappa Theta brother, in May the brothers of the fraternity, as well as many of their friends and family, met at the Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J., to raise money for the organization founded by Seton Hall basketball alumnus, Jerry Walker.

“It was really great to get a bunch of brothers to come out to support Jerry and his foundation, especially considering it was our first summer event after finals,” Stiles said.

Many of the current men’s basketball team showed their support at the walk, including new basketball coach Kevin Willard and his staff, according to Stiles.

Hundreds of Jersey City residents and community members showed their support for Walker as well and met up to raise money for their neighborhood.

According to Stiles, Phi Kappa Theta first teamed up with the nonprofit organization in the spring of 2009 when they initiated Jerry Walker into their fraternity.

Ever since, Stiles says the brothers have been very generous, donating large portions of the funds raised in their annual Pirate Queen pageant, which consists of young women who are active in on-campus organizations.

In the pageant, the women give a brief history of the organization they represent as well as what they do within the community. Five finalists are selected after three rounds, and one final winner is announced in the end, according to Stiles.

Stiles said last November they managed to raise over $500 for Team Walker and hope to exceed their donations this year.

Being a former Seton Hall student, Walker is not a stranger to pirate life, according to his biography on the Team Walker website, teamwalker.org. He was a basketball all-star at Seton Hall during the ’92 and ’93 seasons and led the Pirates on three trips to the NCAA tournament. He was also named Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East, where he managed to put up 14 points per game.

According to teamwalker.org, the website Walker created, the athlete followed up his excellent junior year with an average senior year that unfortunately took him out of the running for the NBA draft. He eventually took to overseas to play ball in the American minor league association after finishing college. Walker’s future was really put into perspective when he was hospitalized in 2000 with a hindrance to his stomach, an obscurity that ended his pro basketball career.

This illness made him want to give back to the community that helped him grow as an athlete, according to the site. A few years prior, Walker returned to his neighborhood of Jersey City and with the help of his brother Japer, founded Team Walker in the summer of 1996. It began as a summer basketball tournament to keep kids out of trouble, yet has evolved into a community resource that provides both athletically and academically for hundreds of kids each year.

The brothers of Phi Kappa Theta were inspired by Walker’s determination to help kids in his community and thus wanted to do something to help.

“Walker has vowed to get very involved with his new brothers at Phi Kappa Theta, and in return the brothers plan on using their alumni foundation donations as well as a portion of their various fundraisers this year for new SHU intramural jerseys,” Stiles said.

The fraternity plans on continuing their annual Pirate Queen pageant this year and use a portion of those funds for their new philanthropy organization.

“We will do everything we can to give back to Team Walker and plan on participating in the walk again this year,” Stiles said.

Rawan Eewshah can be reached at rawan.eewshah@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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