by Mia Salenetri
Hundreds filed into the Riggs Alumni Center Friday night for the sold-out First Annual Night of the Carnation fundraising gala, hosted by sorority Alpha Chi Omega and fraternity Delta Sigma Phi.
The brothers and sisters were surrounded by friends and family to promote their respective philanthropies – Alpha Chi’s Domestic Violence Awareness and Delta Sigma’s Red Cross America – and succeeded in raising almost $6,000 for each cause.
Most of the students involved in planning the gala stressed the importance of bringing awareness to their causes.
“A big part of Domestic Violence Awareness is raising awareness, not just raising money,” said Cait Lane, Alpha Chi Omega chapter president. “It’s fun to have all of our friends and family coming out.”
The main forms of fundraising at the event were ticket sales, a raffle and a silent auction. Before the night had even begun, the estimated amount raised by tickets was almost $10,000. Raffle and auction prizes – ranging from a game night Scrabble box to a private beach house vacation in Surfside Beach, South Carolina – were given out to guests willing to donate.
Domestic Violence Awareness is a cause that many Alpha Chi sisters hold dear to their hearts. Philanthropy Vice President Claudia Romeo says that she only ran for her position because of how important it is to her.
“I’m not a born leader, I’m just so passionate about domestic violence awareness that this is what I wanted to do,” Romeo told us. “My intention with this event was to bring in friends and family from near and far and really enforce the values that we’re built upon. Our philanthropy, Domestic Violence Awareness, is definitely the most important thing to us.”
Delta Sigma Phi Philanthropy Chairs Jerry Terp and Stephen Tonelson said they usually stick to small-scale fundraising and crowd funding – like their blood drives in the fall and Delta Dogs – but that they were excited to put on such a large-scale event for their philanthropy.
“I like that the Red Cross is trying to help everyone out. It’s a humanitarian organization, the largest in the world,” Tonelson said. “It’s helping people less fortunate than we are.”
Delta Sigma Phi’s motto is “Better Men, Better Lives,” words that help a lot of brothers stay passionate about the American Red Cross.
When the night began, guests had time to mingle, eat and explore the raffle and silent auction prizes.
“It’s very impressive,” two proud Delta Sigma Phi parents said, “there’s been a lot of organizing going on to pull this off.”
Two new Alpha Chi Omega sisters, Julia Novick and Colleen Keating, expressed their excitement for the huge event.
“It’s very cool that it’s our first year doing this and it’s sold out,” Keating said.
Once the event was underway, guest speaker Asjouré Brown gave a speech on why House of Ruth Maryland, the domestic violence nonprofit benefitting from the fundraiser, is so important to her.
“There is no face to domestic violence,” she told the room full of students and their families. Her speech explained why some victims stay with their abusers, and why outreach is so important.
Terp and Tonelson stressed the impact just one person can make through the American Red Cross.
“For every blood donation the average person gives it’ll affect two to three people,” Tonelson said, “so one person could save two to three lives.”
“We’ve had a lot of people close to us be affected by domestic violence, and all of [our sisters] know how to get them the help and resources they need,” Romeo said. “It’s just a bunch of little things that add to a big difference.”