News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 22, 2018
MMA fraternity helps dig out after recent storm

Finding fun in the storm

Charleen Heidkamp shovels out a drainage pipe during last week’s snowstorm.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Elder

by Monique Labbe

When two feet of snow blankets a college campus, canceling classes and leaving students with their schedules wide open for the day, what do those students do with that free time?

For Ashley Elder and the members of Maine Maritime Academy’s Alpha Phi Omega: Phi Epsilon fraternity, the answer is to grab shovels, head downtown, and get to work with the storm cleanup.

“We’re always doing different projects, and our most recent one was shoveling out Witherle [Memorial] Library after the most recent storm,” said Elder.

The coed fraternity is a local service fraternity, based on the ideals of giving back in the community in which one attends college.

Though the members of the fraternity are not Castine natives, Elder said that for the four years that they attend Maine Maritime Academy, the community is still theirs.

“It might be seasonal and it might only be four years, but I’m here…and I love the area, so why not give back?” she said.

Elder said that helping out during the storm was greatly appreciated by those in the community, and that she and her fellow fraternity members felt a great sense of warmth from them as they set to work with the dig out.

“We always get warm waves, and that’s become one of my favorite parts about helping out,” she said.

Once finished digging out Witherle Memorial Library, the group walked back to campus, but not before making other stops along the way.

“Being the bored college students that we are, we also shoveled out the town hall and the [Trinitarian Congregational Parish of Castine] church on the way back to campus,” said Elder.