Greek life gives back to community with Heart of the USA


Carlos Rene Castro

Beta Gamma Nu brothers Armando Galindo(left) and Martin Peña(right) have a personal connection to agriculture. They were both farm workers and now aim to give back to Central Valley farm workers through their third annual philanthropy event, “Heart of The USA.” (Carlos Rene Castro/ The Collegian)

By Carlos Rene Castro, Multimedia reporter

Armando Galindo immigrated to the United States from a small town in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2010.

The Fresno State alumnus embedded his roots in the Central Valley, working his way through the agriculture industry.

No matter the crop or season, Galindo worked as a farmworker, and from grapes to thyme, he did the back-breaking and grueling labor of picking crops under the hot Central Valley weather. 

“It’s not something that is easy to do,” Galindo said.

Galindo graduated from Fresno State last year with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and now works as a peer educator for Fresno State’s CAMP (College Assistant Migrant Program). With new ventures in his post-graduate career, Galindo has handed his philanthropy duties to Martin Peña, a Fresno State Spanish major, to continue giving back to the community and help organize the fraternity’s third annual The Heart of The USA event on March 31, 2023.

Galindo is an alum brother of Beta Gamma Nu, a multicultural fraternity founded at the University of Southern California in 1997. Beta Gamma Nu is also known as the BeeGees, with its pillars being pride, brotherhood, and respect. Eta Chapter at Fresno State was founded in 2013. 

Galindo joined the fraternity in spring of 2020. As an active brother, Galindo took charge of the fraternity philanthropy events to raise money and bring awareness to issues in the community. Alongside Osvaldo Fernandez, Galindo created The Heart of The USA, an annual philanthropy event that raises funds for Central Valley farmworkers. 

Experiencing the daily labor of farmworkers, Galindo felt the responsibility of his fraternity to show gratitude to the farmworkers’ daily commitment to feed the nation.

“The purpose [of the event] was to come back and show appreciation and how much we care for them as a community,” Galindo said.

His successor, Peña, has also shared similar experiences. 

“I worked in the fields for a couple of months as well,” Peña said. “I know what farmworkers go through.”

One of the things the fraternity does to demonstrate its gratitude is send taco trucks to give free food to farmworkers. 

For the past two years, Beta Gamma Nu has hosted its annual event near Laton, a small town located 23 miles south-southeast of Fresno. In addition to providing food, the BeeGees also donated essential supplies needed to work in the fields such as clothing and hats to protect the farmworkers from the strong sun rays.

Santiago Vasquez, a manager in charge of a group of 20 workers, praised Beta Gamma Nu for its efforts in giving back to his workers for the past two years.

“It was very beautiful,” Vasquez said.    

To raise funds for the taco truck, the brothers are hosting an online raffle where participants can win three prizes by purchasing tickets: one for $14 or two for $20.

The first-place prize is two tickets to a regional Mexican concert at Chukchansi Park on Saturday, April 22; the second-place prize is Fresno State apparel; and the third- and fourth-place prizes are gift cards from either Starbucks or Dutch Bros.

During the philanthropy event, the winners will be randomly selected through a spinning wheel and announced live via Beta Gamma Nu’s Instagram account. 

The BeeGees are also accepting donations, from essential items to monetary donations, for their anticipated event, according to Peña.

In the past, the BeeGees have raised money, contributed funds to Valley Children’s Hospital and foster homes and recently donated toys to children over the holidays.

This year, the BeeGees are excited about The Heart of The USA and to improve upon it compared to previous years.

“The more money we get,” Peña said.” The more essentials we could get for them.”

People can donate and find more information on their Instagram.