Robbie’s Day as a Delt
Robbie Massengale is not a typical member of the Iota Theta Chapter at Kennesaw State University. He’s not enrolled in any classes nor does he attend the school, but that is not his choice. Massengale has cerebral palsy and spends a majority of his time in a wheelchair. Even though he is not a student, it did not stop the members of Delta Tau Delta from giving Massengale a true fraternal experience and making him an honorary member.
In 2014 the chapter met Massengale while volunteering at Camp Dream, a summer camp for children and young adults with moderate to severe physical and developmental disabilities.
“I had heard, Robbie was by our brothers sides the entire time at camp. He kept talking about how awesome it is that we have so many brothers because growing up he didn't have any siblings,” Zach Arriola (Kennesaw State University, 2018) said.
Arriola was just a new member at the time and didn’t meet Massengale until 2015, but he lived up to the hype. “Robbie’s a nut. You say one thing and he's got a smart aleck comment to go right back,” Arriola said. “It's one of those things where he's got such a great bond with all of us, and we come back to the chapter and share.”
It was not all good times for the chapter in 2015. That year was supposed to be Massengale’s last year at Camp Dream. His aunt and uncle were taking him out of the nursing home and moving him to La Grange, Kentucky to live with them.
As the Iota Theta members were getting ready to visit the camp in 2016, they got a call from Massengale’s aunt and uncle saying they were bringing him to camp. That summer Arriola and Dylan Slade (Kennesaw State University, 2016) were Massengale's counselors. They learned Massengale’s wheelchair had been causing him pain and affecting his posture and a new one would cost $22,000 without help from insurance.
Now, the philanthropy chair, Arriola went back to the chapter with a plan to help Massengale. He gave them a few options, but every brother raised his hand to help Massengale get a new wheelchair. After the meeting “Robbie’s Day as a Delt” was a go.
“We had a brother in need, and we decided that we wanted to help him. It was something we felt we needed to do, just because he had done so much for us,” Arriola said.
The chapter furiously starting raising money for the new wheelchair leading up to “Robbie's Day as a Delt.” They saw they Massengale’s aunt had created a GoFundMe page and the men shifted their efforts toward the page.
“It was just posting on Facebook, reaching out to our friends and family members,” Arriola said. “We had brothers going around everywhere at Kennesaw trying to raise money for Robbie.”
Finally, after weeks of preparation for Robbie’s Day as a Delt, Massengale arrived on campus for his first Fraternity event. “We were playing 'Eye of the Tiger' as we helped him out of the van. Pretty much everyone was cheering him on, and he started crying,” Arriola said.
This was just the start of Massengale’s day. The chapter had his day packed with activities and capped off Robbie’s Day with a brotherhood bowling event.
The chapter raised money during Robbie's Day by selling t-shirts, pedestal jousting, a dunk tank and more. With the money from Robbie’s Day and a final push through the GoFundMe page they were able to raise $22,848, surpassing the amount they needed for his wheelchair.
Before the brotherhood event, the men of Iota Theta presented Massengale with a gift basket filled with Delt gear and shirts from other Greek organizations on campus.
“We got Robbie a Delt flag and we signed it. We also got him a white T-shirt. It’s a thing here where right before you initiate you get a white T-shirt and your brothers sign it for you,” Arriola said. “He is 100 percent our brother.”