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The Truth About Philanthropy

It was my sophomore year, late-September. The summer was fading, and the weather showed signs of fall’s early arrival after a brutal summer heat. The campus was boisterous, the girls were tan and ample-chested, and the pledges were wide-eyed and full of vigor. It was a great time to be alive. Even amidst the excitement of football, a slew of parties, and the rapidly approaching yoga pants season, our minds drifted elsewhere, for the annual pledge auction philanthropy event was nearing. The pledge auction fundraiser was an invitation-only philanthropy event where your favorite sorority members would show up, throw back an adult beverage or two, and then bid on your pledges to own them for a day. If you won, you could have them clean your room, do your homework, or even engage in something on the more risqué, but consented, side of indentured servitude. The prices were mostly modest, averaging around $25 per pledge. All proceeds were donated to charity, a different one each year. In its short four years of existence, it was yet to disappoint. A simple mention of the annual philanthropy event would conjure up a multitude of memories, some decent, some good, some really awesome. All outrageous.

If the event was to approach the previous year in terms of memorability, success and all around badassery, we knew it’d be unadulterated greatness. Murmurs of last year’s auction could still be heard around campus. Pledge Sanders’ escapades that evening thrusted him into instant legend status around Greek circles and garnered “I think that’s the guy” whispers among the commoners, and even a flicker of respect could be assumed among his active chapter.

It was a new year, though, and now Sanders, the active, was orchestrating the event. Hopes of one-upping the previous pledge auctions were dreamt of, but more realistic discussions only envisioned a comparable night – a night of fun, no accidents, and money raised. Check. Check. Check. Sanders was apparently born for this night. A true philanthropy auction savant with big ideas, only stifled by the willingness of the attendees and the limit of the chapter AMEX. It was on. Sanders spoke about the impending auction at the week-of chapter meeting. He was brief, like the time it’ll take sweet-swingin’ Beau Hossler to find his way to a warm, coed-occupied single bed when he sets foot on the UT campus.

Sanders gave us instruction:

“Wear a suit. Bring cash. Find a seat where you can see well.”

The night to ensue would rewrite the book on fraternity philanthropy, and from what I hear, remains THE fall event to this day.

The term “philanthropy” often carries a negative connotation. Nonsense. If done right, and with solid people, it can be a righteous adventure, and for a great cause.

For those in the Austin area, let me introduce you to a more than worthwhile philanthropy event, the Spooky Skedaddle 5K and Festival benefiting the Texas School for the Deaf (TSD). It’s the perfect opportunity to dress up for Halloween, have some fun with your friends, log some quality community service hours, and show your support. Be on the lookout for Allen. He’ll be dressed as a pumpkin.

Furthermore, the three largest teams who arrive for the 5k fully costumed will win prizes. First prize: $300 gift certificate at Freddie’s Place, second prize: $200 gift certificate at Freddie’s, third prize: pizza party at ZAX.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the event and register.


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Dillon Cheverere

Dillon Cheverere (@DCheverere) is the Vice President of Media for Grandex, Inc. Email: dillon@grandex.co

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