Fraternity ‘struts their stuff’ for YouthAIDS

For those of us with younger brothers, dressing them up may have been one of the most memorable parts of sibling bonding growing-up. For the girls at 13 sororities at the University of Illinois, these childhood memories were revived Tuesday when they got to dress and accessorize the freshmen members of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

To raise money for YouthAIDS, an HIV/AIDS fundraising and awareness campaign targeting young people by the non-profit organization Population Services International, Sigma Phi Epsilon chapters across the nation are holding “Sig Ep Presents,” a series of fundraisers throughout the fall semester.

At the Illinois chapter, Sigma Phi Epsilon is hosting “Sig Ep Presents” from Nov. 1 through Nov. 7, which will encompass a range of activities including a banner judging contest, fashion show, spaghetti dinner and a variety show. People participating in Sig Ep Presents will include members of the fraternity and 13 sororities on campus.

Andrew Tamasauskas, a senior in Media and former VP of Programming, said the fraternity has been hosting Sig Ep Presents every year since the fraternity was revived on campus in 2000.

Tamasauskas, who led the planning initiatives for Sig Ep Presents for the last two years said what started off as a one day event has turned into a week long event.

“We’ve done the same thing every year. We do a variety show and when I was VP of Programming we expanded to adding a spaghetti dinner on Friday, which helped add $1,500 to what we had been doing in past years.”

This year, Henry Schmidt, a sophomore in LAS and the current vice president of Philanthropy, has added a new event to the program, the “Freshman Fashion Show.”

“Each house (dressed up) one of our freshman in whatever they (pleased), and they (strutted) their stuff down the ‘catwalk’ in our Great Hall to a song of the girls’ choosing,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the idea of having a fashion show, which took place Tuesday night, originated from the freshmen in the house, who have made it into service project that every freshman in the house is required to do.

This year, the fraternity’s goal is to raise $6,000 and Schmidt said with the level of involvement from everyone in the house, they are on track to meet their goal.

“I don’t think there’s a single guy who’s not involved in some little way,” Schmidt said. “Our chapter has over 180 guys and there’s about 80% of the guys selling tickets, buying T-shirts, helping out with sororities and the actual show itself. Even guys who just show up to the event and buy tickets are helping out.”

For both Schmidt and Tamasauskas, the variety show is the highlight of the philanthropy week.

The variety show takes place on Sunday at 7 p.m. in Foellinger Auditorium, and will feature a talent portion, a modeling section and will conclude with a double date auction. Tamasauskas said around 600-700 people are expected to attend the event.

“The most exciting thing is the variety show itself. It really shows how everyone had worked real hard at it, and done so much for the event, that it just culminates,” Schmidt said. “People are dancing on stage, the MCs are walking around stage to a laughing crowd.”

Tamasaukas said aside from seeing all the hard work from planning the event pay-off, Sig Ep Presents also serves as an opportunity to debunk stereotypes about fraternities.

“It’s all about raising money for charity and showing the public we do care,” Tamasukas said. “The traditional fraternity stereotype is not exactly good in a lot of ways. We’ve definitely been trying to break that for years at SigEps, and this is another way to do that.”

Lindsey McLauchlan, sophomore in LAS and the philanthropy chair for Kappa Delta, one of the sororities participating in Sig Ep Presents this year, said in an e-mail that Kappa Delta has involved with the event since its beginning here at the University.

“SigEp’s philanthropy is always fun for the girls as we enjoy doing things with the boys,” McLauchlan said. “The girls really like the spaghetti dinner because it is fun to have dinner with the SigEps and a lot of other houses on campus.”

Fall philanthropy rakes in donations