Greek Community Hosts Philanthropy Events

Spring has sprung, and that also means it is time for Greek houses on campus to begin hosting their wide range of philanthropic events.

On March 28, Alpha Phi was finally able to see their biggest event of the year come together: the Red Dress Gala.

“Red Dress Gala is an annual live and silent auction and dinner that Alpha Phi puts on to raise money for women’s empowerment and cardiac care,” Elizabeth Harbaugh, a senior in Alpha Phi, said. “This year was super exciting and rewarding because during the actual event alone we raised over $18,500.”

Each year, the Red Dress Gala draws a wide range of attendance from members of Alpha Phi, parents, alumni and faculty in order to bid on various donations to raise money for a great cause.

“The hardest part of Red Dress is definitely the preparation,” Harbaugh said. “Haylee Corvi and I worked on this event for over a year, and enlisted help from our entire chapter. When you’re so focused on the little things––collecting donations, sending invitations, organizing catering––it’s easy to forget the greater goal. Taking a step back from the stress is definitely the hardest and most important part of the process.”

Although planning sizeable events such as the Red Dress Gala can be stressful, seeing the final product come together and for Greek houses to be able to contribute something to the community is the biggest reward. Austin Brittenham, President of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, shared his thoughts on SAE’s philanthropy events.

“Historically we do Walk a Mile in Her (recently changed to Their) Shoes. This event raises interest in sexual assault and prevention, and power-based personal violence. Like all our philanthropies, this event is open to the campus community,” Brittenham said.

With sexual assault becoming a prevalent issue on college campuses across the country, SAE’s event serves to increase awareness about these issues and create an open and dynamic conversation about sexual assault and prevention between students on Puget Sound’s campus.

“The drawbacks we experience are the same drawbacks we experience every year and which affect events at Puget Sound more generally: low student turnout, scheduling conflicts with other events on campus, no easy way to organize or encourage students to come,” Brittenham said.

Junior member of Sigma Chi Dylan Livermore also shared his thoughts on Greek philanthropic events.

“Derby Days is a week-long philanthropic campaign that aims to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We had the Penny Wars fundraiser and Zorb soccer,” Livermore said.

Sigma Chi’s philanthropy event encourages students across campus to participate in various activities throughout the week in order to raise money as a collective community.

In addition to Derby Days, Sigma Chi also sponsors an event each fall to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to childhood cancer research.

“So this spring GPhi is cohosting a 5K with Relay for Life. The proceeds from the event will go to both Girls on the Run, which is GPhi’s philanthropy, and the Relay for Life Foundation. Typically we host a kickball event, but wanted to make the event more accessible to the broader Puget Sound community and hopefully this will be a good way to do that. The event is on April 19 and the run will start at 12 p.m.,” junior Rachel Sugar, the philanthropy chair for Gamma Phi Beta, said.

Students are also encouraged to participate in the Relay for Life’s relay later this spring on May 1, at 5 p.m.

In addition, Kappa Alpha Theta recently hosted their spring philanthropy event: Carnival for CASA, on March 30 in the Rotunda.

“It was a carnival that we put on with $1 food items and a raffle for prizes to The Met and E9 and other businesses. It goes towards CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates),” Hannah Robideaux, a sophomore in Theta, said.

CASA aims to train community volunteers to advocate in court on behalf of the thousands of children who have been abused or neglected.

Kappa Alpha Theta has been partnered with CASA for more than 25 years.

The Greek houses on Puget Sound’s campus are frequently criticized for their lack of ability to include students who are unaffiliated with the Greek system, and for making their events inaccessible.

“All of our philanthropies are open to the campus community, and, in fact, only work if we have large representation of the campus community. It would be farcical if only SAE’s went to our philanthropies. If that were the case, we would just write a check ourselves and be done with philanthropy. Rather, we greatly encourage students to come!” Brittenham said.

Both affiliated and unaffiliated students are encouraged to attend philanthropic events by the Greek community.