On Nov. 15, members of Kent State University’s Greek community organized and participated in Songfest, an annual philanthropy event. Together, they raised $30,000 for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), a national organization dedicated to suicide prevention.
Songfest, which is hosted by the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, brings the entire Greek community together for a good cause through singing, dancing and acting. The skits are themed to showcase the event’s beneficiary in positive and entertaining way.
“All the teams did an incredible job creating performances that highlighted the importance of suicide prevention,” said Meredith Bielaska, Kent State’s assistant director for Greek affairs. “The topic of suicide is often difficult to face, and they were able to not only confront the issue, but do so while being positive and uplifting.”
In front of close to 1,000 guests, teams competed for bragging rights in four categories: Fundraising, Performance, People’s Choice and Overall Winner.
Chapters are grouped together, based on size, to create seven teams. From the time the teams are finalized, there is a short, five-week window of time for rehearsal, planning and fundraising.
The team of Alpha Xi Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon won first place in fundraising. Their individual chapters raised $6,418 for SAVE.
The night’s top performance went to Sigma Sigma Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Delta Tau Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The panel of judges, which selected the performance, included staff members from Kent State’s Psychological Services, representatives from SAVE, as well as a guest judge.
The People’s Choice award was selected by guests purchasing raffle tickets and putting them in the basket of the team they felt put on the best performance. The award went to Delta Gamma, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Lambda Chi Alpha and Phi Iota Alpha with their skit “Story of a Girl.” Event goers raised more than $2,000 toward the overall total by voting for the People’s Choice award.
The overall winner was determined based on a series of qualifying activities that took place within the weeks leading up to the event. Chapters received points for attending events such as National Depression Screening Day and the educational event which featured speakers from SAVE. Points were also earned by selling Songfest merchandise and raising funds individually as a chapter. The team’s performance was the last opportunity to earn points toward the overall award.
The overall winning team for Songfest 2014 was Alpha Xi Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Kent State student Will Hutton, vice president of philanthropy and community service for the Interfraternity Council who helped plan and emcee the event, saw first-hand how much goes into the Songfest experience.
“Songfest is so much more than just a one night event,” Hutton said. “Once the charity is voted on, the entire Greek community engages in a whirlwind of fundraising, awareness, education and support for the organization and for each other.”
Songfest is just one of the many philanthropic events hosted and supported by the Kent State Greek community. The community donates more than 20,000 service hours annually and fundraises more than $300,000 for local and national organizations each year.
For more information about Greek life at Kent State, visit www.kentstategreeklife.com
SAVE was one of the nation’s first organizations dedicated to the prevention of suicide and was a co-founding member of the National Council for Suicide Prevention. Its history and growth from an all-volunteer, small grassroots group of passionate survivors led it to what is one of today’s leading national not-for-profit organizations with staff dedicated to prevent suicide. Its work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide should no longer be considered a hidden or taboo topic and that through raising awareness and educating the public, we can SAVE lives. For more information, visit www.SAVE.org.