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FIJI - Phi Gamma Delta
Sigma Tau Chapter
University of Washington 


Past Major Projects

  • Leapfrog around Greenlake (1986)
  • Run to the Roses (1991-94)
  • Run to Calgary
  • Rotary Boys and Girls Club (2010-11)
  • Journey from the Tourney (2012-13) 
  • World Record Flag Football Game (2013-2014)

UW Fijis Help Build a School in Senegal

Co-Major Project Chairmen

Bryan Starnes (class of 2017) and Hans Nothstein (class of 2017)

About the Event

On July 1st, 2017, Drew McCoy ’18 and Hans Nothstein ‘17 boarded their flight for Dakar, Senegal. When they got there, their bus was led by men on horseback and children on bicycles. They were greeted by a crowd of smiling faces, drumming, and dancing.

During the welcoming ceremony, the elders of the village explained that their parents and grandparents had only dreamed of what they were witnessing. The young children would not be forced to walk miles in the heat to a school on the other side of a busy highway. Snakes entering outdoor classrooms would no longer be a concern. More young students would complete their primary education, and more would go on to university in Dakar and beyond. More will return with their professional skills and knowledge, and, over time, the new school will have transformed the village and the many lives within.

The next week was spent working alongside the village. They dug the foundation for the school, tied rebar, made bricks, and mixed concrete. Even the small children joined in, carrying water from the well to the work site. Afternoons were spent weathering the heat under baobab trees and trying to communicate with their host families. After the afternoon shift on the work site, the village gathered for different events. One evening, the village held a Senegalese wrestling tournament. Another evening the Americans played the Senegalese in a game of soccer. The Americans lost by a score of 7-12. By the end of the week, the walls of the school were being built brick by brick by good friends.

About the Fundraising

Since the start date, the major project chairmen held dozens of meetings, presentations and events. They mobilized over 100 college gentleman to give their time and energy for the sake of community service. They also held the first annual poker tournament fundraiser. The goal was to raise at least $60,000 to be split between two organizations. The first $30,000 would be directed to buildOn to fund the construction of a new school in a Senegal. The other $30,000 would be directed to Summer Search to support promising yet underprivileged American students. The first fundraising effort yielded over $35,000 to be directed to buildOn, beating the goal by over $5,000. The second fundraising effort is still moving forward, with the goal to be finished fundraising for Summer Search by the end of this spring quarter 2018.