Alpha Chi promotes domestic violence awareness

By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer

The Washington College chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Beta Pi hosted their annual philanthropic event, Casino Night, to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The event, rebranded Haunted Casino Night, lasted from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. Tables and chairs for casino games were set up on the first floor of the Casey Academic Center, along with a buffet table and a raffle table.

Alpha Chi sisters tabled each day in Hodson Hall leading up to the event with information about domestic violence awareness, free pumpkin donut holes, and the opportunity to buy tickets. They also sold apple cider and encouraged students to write on pins what love means to them.

Tickets for the event were $10 and included access to food and drinks. Attendees could also buy poker chips to play at the door, with $1, $5, $15, and $20 options. Each chip was worth a different amount of raffle tickets, which students could then place in different bags for prizes.

Prize bags at the raffle table varied from a home decor themed basket to a date night basket to a bag specifically for cat lovers, with the big prize being a $100 gift card for Royal Farms. All of the baskets included gift cards or items donated by local Chestertown businesses.

The games available to play included Texas Hold ‘Em, Poker, Roulette, Blackjack, and Crazy Eights. The dealers for the night were either sorority sisters, sweethearts of the sorority, or volunteers from other campus organizations.

Sophomore Rodger Ecker, the dealer for Texas Hold ‘Em, wanted to volunteer to support his fellow Greek organizations and their philanthropy.

“I don’t know if it’s so much about the Greek life, but it’s about the philanthropy,” Ecker said. “I think everybody should be involved in philanthropy because, at the end of the day, the best thing I think you can do is to help somebody else. And that’s what we’re all trying to do here. So we come out, have a good time, and you’re helping somebody.”

All proceeds from the event benefited the Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, which is a local domestic violence service organization. According to senior and Alpha Chi VP Philanthropy Holly Williams, they offer services such as “mental health counseling, legal aid, emergency shelter, emergency funds, [and] abuser intervention” for survivors of domestic violence.

10% of the proceeds also went toward administrative service fees to the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, which supports healthy relationship programming on college campuses.

Junior and Alpha Chi Sister Asia Webb expressed a similar sentiment to Ecker, especially in regards to the true meaning behind the event.

“It’s very important that we have Casino Night, not just for people to have fun and gamble their [raffle] tickets, but to also raise awareness so people can understand how supporting us is supporting somebody else,” Webb said.

Planning for Casino Night began months in advance, and, according to Webb, “takes a lot of time” and involves a lot of “behind the scenes” work that many don’t get the chance to see. The pandemic made this process even more difficult than most years.

One of their largest issues was finding the balance between following COVID-19 regulations and allowing attendees to enjoy their time together in person.

Williams hoped that, regardless of external situations, WC students realize how relevant Alpha Chi’s philanthropy is to them as college students.

“In college-aged peoples’ experience, instances of intimate partner abuse [occur] at a high rate compared to the general population,” Williams said. “It’s not something that happens off our campus; it happens in our relationships with each other. So, getting involved and getting the resources, the education, the tools to identify it to stop that cycle of violence — that’s critical to creating a loving campus community.”

Williams emphasized that their philanthropy is “at the center” of the “love” they have “as sisters,” and encouraged students to come together in support of it.

“We get to share that [love] with the outside community through advocating for survivors of domestic violence and standing together to advocate to speak up for what we believe in — which is a violence-free world in which people are respected and protected in their intimate relationships, and have the resources available to them to leave situations where they might be facing violence,” Williams said. “So, we all come together for this because it’s a cause we believe in and it’s the world we want to see.”

The Crowdchange, which has a goal of $1,800, is still open for donations.

Photos by Megan Loock

Students who purchased a ticket to Casino Night had the chance to play games such as Roulette and Blackjack to win more poker chips which they could trade in for raffle tickets for a chance to win a prize basket, made up of goods donated by local Chestertown businesses.

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