On the night of Monday, April 4, a group of students met in the student center and attended a gambling party. No, this was not an illegal gambling event on campus, it was a philanthropy event that benefited Haitian relief efforts.
The event, named “All in for Haiti,” was organized by Sigma Beta Rho, a national fraternity that has a chapter at Tech. Although none of the members in the Tech chapter were directly affected by the earthquake in Haiti, they do have national members that have suffered from the disaster and the fraternity wanted to sponsor an event that would let people enjoy themselves while giving to a good cause.
“Our biggest goal was to raise awareness for different issues around the world and we wanted to focus on the issue in Haiti,” said Anirudha Midododdi, a co-chair of philanthropy for Sigma Beta Rho and a second-year IE.
The event allowed students to enjoy a night playing blackjack, poker, craps and roulette while savoring free food and watching the NCAA basketball tournament. Sigma Beta Rho also gave out T-shirts to those that came out to the event.
To help contribute to the relief efforts, participants were asked to donate $5. With approximately 100 people participating, the fraternity was able to raise over $500.
All proceeds from the benefit will go to the SOS Children’s Villages International- an international organization that provides a loving and safe environment for orphaned or abandoned children. UNICEF estimates that 20,000 were lost from their families from the earthquake that occurred Jan. 12. Before the earthquake, it was estimated that approximately 300,000 orphans existed in Haiti.
“We decided this would be a good way to get people to come out to raise awareness and raise money,” said Jason Bapna, a co-chair of philanthropy for Sigma Beta Rho and first-year IE.
Sigma Beta Rho received help from the Institute of industrial Engineers in organizing the event and Phi Kappa Tau contributed by provided members that acted as dealers for the games. The Tech for Haiti organization also provided support by helping to market the in the weeks before the event around campus.
The event was sponsored with help from the Tech Student Foundation, AT&T, CCP Events and Walmart. CCP Events helped with the logistics of the event and brought the equipment used to facilitate the games. Walmart also helped support the event by donating food.
In the past few months there have been several events that were organized by Tech students to aid in Haitian relief. On Thurs. Jan., 14 the Caribbean Student Association held a candle light vigil in honor of the earthquake victims. A benefit concert, GT Jam for Haiti, was held on Sat., March, 13 and included several different local bands and comedian performances. The Angels for Haiti organization has also been taking donations throughout the last three months. Last week. On April, 2, GT-Vibha, Society of Step and Youth Outreach sponsored a program called, “REVIVAL: Haiti Mon Amour,” where all proceeds from the salsa dancing show went to Haitian relief efforts.
Sigma Beta Rho hopes to continue the casino themed event annually in an effort to try and bring awareness to other humanitarian issues around the world.