Ole Miss sorority to distribute 5,000 pairs of glasses

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The women of the Alpha Psi Chapter of Delta Gamma had no idea what awaited them when their adviser, Cobie Watkins, reached out to DIFF Eyewear co-founder Chad Jernigan about teaming up for a good cause.

They soon found out, recently announcing an unprecedented partnership with the company on its single-largest philanthropic donation of eyewear.

Five-thousand pairs of eyeglasses will be distributed to organizations throughout Mississippi.

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Distribution in the works

Watkins said as of now, there are no “concrete plans in place” on how the eyeglasses will be distributed.

“But we do expect to work with some local charities to donate and distribute the glasses through,” Watkins said. “We also plan on working with some outlets in the Mississippi Delta as well. We’ll know more about that process in the coming months.”

The initial agreement was to make a donation of 1,000 pairs of eyeglasses. Watkins then voiced the large-scale need for resources in the state, and an agreement of 5,000 pairs of eyeglasses was made.

“Once we saw that Mississippi needed help, we said let’s donate more than 500 pairs and let’s donate 5,000 pairs to make an impact on as many lives as we can,” said Morgan Roy, brand development manager for DIFF Eyewear.

DIFF traditionally donates to Eyes On Africa, a charitable non-profit organization, but this is the company’s first time to donate within the U.S. and to collaborate with a single organization to make a donation.

“We wanted to try and do something that would make an impact locally,” Roy said.

The chapter ordered 550 pairs of sunglasses — a pair for every chapter member, new member and advisory team member. The glasses given to the members have a custom design, including lens colors that correspond with the sorority’s colors and an accent of an anchor, the official sorority symbol.

Roy said, “We decided it would be a good idea to work with Delta Gamma because of the charity initiative and how involved Greek life is in giving back.”

When a pair of DIFF sunglasses is sold, the company then donates a pair of eyeglasses to someone in need.

A social media campaign was also launched to raise awareness for and to combat visual impairments. The company developed the hashtag, #DGxDIFF, to promote the issue and to further spread the word of their humanitarian aid on social media outlets. DIFF also created a custom promo code “olemissdg” to give the Delta Gamma chapter and all customers 15 percent off when they purchase certain pairs of sunglasses on their website. The two aspects of the campaign came together to accomplish a common goal.

“DIFF’s passion for helping with visual impairment is evident in everything they do, which made them the perfect partner,” said Leslie McCormick, advisory team chairman of the Alpha Psi chapter.

Members of the Delta Gamma chapter at Ole Miss are excited to see how the campaign will assist those in Mississippi who are visually impaired and for the chance to further advocate their philanthropy, Service for Sight.

“It makes me so proud to be part of an organization that is able to give back in such a unique way,” said Keavy Noblin, vice president of the Alpha Psi chapter.

Caroline Goodwin, a junior marketing communications major at the University of Mississippi, contributed to this report.