Greek life tailgate supports philanthropy

Brentaro Yamane | Multimedia Editor | Left to Right: Ivan Del Toro (Gamma Phi), Kylene Lewis (Gamma Phi), Lauren Sykes (Gamma Phi), CJ Rieder (Gamma Phi), Caitlyn Brannon (Pi Kappa Epsilon), Melanie Tommer (Pi Kappa Epsilon).

Kaitlyn Hughes | Staff Writer

The Greek Life Tailgate took place in the Auxiliary Gym of the Cooper Fieldhouse prior to the Dukes’ basketball game against the La Salle Explorers on Wednesday night.

The tailgate offered the opportunity for chapters of Duquesne’s Greek Life to receive a cash prize to be donated to their organization’s philanthropy.

The event was sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement, specifically the Greek Life, Commuter Affairs and Parent Relations offices, and the purpose of the event was to bring the Duquesne community together.

The event welcomed several different chapters of Duquesne’s Greek life, commuters and families as part of one of the bigger collaborative events organized by the Center for Student Involvement since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It started off as getting participation in the games, then it became something bigger,” Karlie Hill, Assistant Director of Greek Life, said.

According to Hill, the overall goal of the tailgate was to create a “fun environment and event for our students to attend.”

Students were able to take part in games inside the gym such as basketball and cornhole, as well as indulge in buffalo chicken dip, walking tacos, mac and cheese and assorted cookies. Greek life members also entered a raffle, and the winner was announced during the following game.

The three chapters with the highest percentage of members in attendance were deemed the winners.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity won first place with a prize of $1,000.

According to the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation’s philanthropic website, their mission is to encourage the current generation of youth to engage in leading the social, economic and educational change of underserved and underrepresented communities throughout the nation.

Gamma Phi came in second with a prize of $500.

Their chapter’s mission is to serve the future generations in Pittsburgh.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon came in third with a prize of $250.

Cole Moyer, a brother from Sigma Alpha Epsilon, explained their chapter has four philanthropies they donate to: National Marrow Donor Program, Sleep in Heavenly Peace and Movember.

However, they plan to donate the $250 cash prize to the Children’s Miracle Network, which is their fraternity’s national philanthropy.

“It’s very rewarding,” Moyer said. “I think it builds character. It’s something I look forward to in the fraternity…. It just feels really good to give back.”

Although not all chapters of Greek Life won, sisters and brothers from different chapters enjoyed the night.

New members of Gamma Phi Beta used the tailgate to socialize and come meet other people. Many Greek life members said being a part of a sorority or fraternity is a good outlet to create new bonds and expand their network.

Emma O’Connor is a new sister of Gamma Phi Beta and a freshman from Michigan.

“Moving here I didn’t know anybody and it just feels like I now have a second family and people who I can always be around.” O’Connor said. “To just be around people who have a likemind as me, that’s a really cool environment.”

Ciara Mills is a member of Delta Sigma Pi, the professional business fraternity at Duquesne. She said joining the fraternity was the best decision she made at Duquesne.

“When I came to Duquesne I knew no one in the business school, I had no connections, no professional experience,” Mills said. “Joining an organization like this really helped to expand my outlook and network.”

Many Greek life members brought friends along with them to the tailgate. Non-Greek life member Elisha Schoeneck joined Mills for an afternoon of free food and activities. They both attended because of their shared love of basketball and the chance to engage with the community.

Schoeneck talked about how she enjoys coming to these events at a smaller school like Duquesne because she gets the chance to meet new people, including higher-ups. She thought it was cool to see the Dean of Students, Adam Wasilko, and President Ken Gormley at the Greek Life tailgate.

Gormley is an honorary brother of Gamma Phi came to show his support and add to the upbeat energy. Gormley said the university has a large value of Duquesne’s Greek life community.

“It’s because it’s part of our culture. It’s all about caring about other people and doing things with other people,” Gormley said.