By Lee Cole–

U of L has been giving out student awards for 13 years, in a number of categories, including the Cardinal Award of Excellence – Scholar/Leader Award and the Harold Adams Award. Every year, one student organization at the University of Louisville receives the prestigious honor of being named Student Organization of the Year. This year’s recipient was the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Kappa Zeta chapter.

Established on Louisville’s campus in 1995, Pikes have been prominent community servants and student leaders for some time now. Pi Kappa Alpha won the same award in 2010 and won the Spirit of Service Award last year. In addition, they won the IFC Fraternity of the Year award both this year and 2010.

Pikes are also involved in Student Government. External Vice President and Junior chemistry major Austin Schwenker told the Cardinal, “Pi Kappa Alpha’s members strive to be active student leaders on our campus; while there always seems to be a few members involved in SGA, our members are diverse and well-rounded, leading not only the organizations that they have helped establish, but those that they connect with and have a passion for.” Schwenker went on to say, “We encourage our members to be involved on campus and to share their talents and leadership abilities not only to help better the university and their respective organizations, but to also help them grow as individuals — something I believe the selection committee recognized.”

Pi Kappa Alpha has been involved in numerous community service events as well as campus/student related projects. One community service event, called Street Academy, pairs a Pi Kappa Alpha brother with inner city youth in need of a role model. Members acted as big brothers to many of these kids, teaching by example and instilling them with the kind of values that led to their current, esteemed recognition.

President David Osborne, a senior in the Speed School, said of Pi Kappa Alpha’s community service: “Pike has members that volunteer at Cochran Elementary School as tutors and athletic coaches each week. Pike also directed parking during St. James Art Fair at Cochran Elementary School, which raised over $22,000 for the underprivileged school. Moreover, Pikes donated over 25 Thanksgiving Baskets to underprivileged families from Cochran. Throughout the 2011-2012 scholastic year, Pikes have also served as mentors in the Street Academy of Louisville program.” Pike’s devotion to community service was a major factor in receiving this honor, with over 3800 hours of volunteer work over the 2011-2012 scholastic year.

Dozens of organizations vie for the honor of Student Organization of the Year, and the competition is keen. Groups are considered in a number of categories, and while many excelled, Pi Kappa Alpha has come out on top as the most outstanding. With these accolades and merits, we can expect to see Pi Kappa Alpha taking home the award for many years to come.

Junior chemistry major Austin Scwenker and freshman engineering major Shelby LaFollette raises some L before performing PIKE90X at Fryberger 2012.

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Photos courtesy of Pi Kappa Alpha