Fraternity offers up time, energy, money

Pi Kappa Alpha builds new cement ramp that makes their house more accessible to everyone

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

Accounting sophomore Cory Whalin spent all day Friday fulfilling a promise he made to his little brother.

Whalin, who is president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, promised Andrew Coffron that he would do whatever it takes to make the fraternity as available to him as it is to every other pledge.

Coffron is disabled.

Whalin said the members of the fraternity met together and decided what they could do for him before rush.


Forensic psychology sophomore Terry Tucker, a Pi Kappa Alpha member, smooths out the top layer of a concrete ramp as other members help load buckets of cement at the fraternity house. The ramp is being built to accommodate new fraternity member Andrew Coffron, who is disabled.

"I made him a promise that if we did pledge him, the house would be accessible to him with or without someone here," he said.

Whalin and the members are building a cement ramp on the back entrance to the fraternity's house.

Coffron, who pledged the fraternity in September, was born with cerebral palsy and must use a walker. The pre-business freshman said that one of the main things that made him choose the fraternity was that his brothers offered their time, effort, and money to build him a ramp.

"The Pikes told me they were willing to build a ramp - that told me that they were good people, and that scored a few brownie points with me," Coffron said.

Whalin said that Coffron was the first disabled member in the fraternity since the 1970s and that because the house was built around the turn of the century, it was not accessible to the disabled.

"It took Andrew to build this - but now that we're going to take that step, we want our house to be accessible to everyone," he said.

Forensic psychology sophomore Terry Tucker said it was important for the fraternity to build the ramp because the house belongs to all the members and pledges.

"We did this for Andrew so he can have access to his own house," he said. "It's his house as much as it is ours."

Coffron said the brothers stayed up until 2 a.m. Oct. 16 mixing up 75 bags of cement by hand and pouring it into the frame for the ramp.

"It's just amazing to me that they stayed up working so hard," he said. "They went and did research so they could build it correctly."

Tucker supervised the building of the ramp because he has experience in construction. He said welders would build the rails because they have to be made of one unit to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. The total cost of the ramp is $600, which the fraternity is paying.

He also said they were going to dedicate the ramp to Coffron and have a commemorative bronze plaque placed on the wall above it.

Coffron said he is looking forward to using the ramp and being a member of the brothers who care so much about him.

"They're helping out a brother- it's an awesome feeling," he said.


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