FIJI Islander Events Raise Over $10k for USO South Carolina

Get together for the troops!

Get together for the troops!

The stakes were high as the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta at the College of Charleston started planning their FIJI Islander event to support the USO.  They knew they wanted to go big in support of America’s troops and families.  And big they went.  They didn’t just hold one event.  No!  They held at least one event every day for an entire week and in the end donated over $10,000 to support USO South Carolina.

FIJI Islander week kicked off on Sunday April 14th with a basketball tournament. The hoops for troops event offered cash prizes and a trophy for the winners.  Before the FIJI brothers could reap the success of their first event they were on to event number two.  On Monday, students on campus lined up for a rare opportunity to dunk a princess in the dunk tank.  As you can imagine, this was a popular event.  Later that night the fundraising continued as everyone headed over to Freshberry where a percentage of the proceeds went to support the USO.

Moving on to day three of fundraising, on Tuesday night, a percentage of the proceeds from dinner at Boones supported the USO.    Then on Wednesday, a school yard event we all loved as children — a kickball tournament – would get sororities and fraternities on the field together kicking a ball around for a good cause.

This fraternity isn’t done yet.  On Thursday campus beauties participated in the Princess Pageant complete with talent competition.  And Finally on Saturday the big finale FIJI Islander party to celebrate a week of successful fundraising.

This FIJI chapter’s donation will go to support troops where it is needed most.  Today’s USO is always by their side, continuously adapting to the needs of our troops and their families by supporting and comforting, connecting and entertaining in new and imaginative ways. USO’s programs and services are made possible by the support of donors like these. – Lisa Ferrari Carter, USO Relationship Manager, Clubs & Organizations

Apple Valley Optimist Club Recieves USO/Optimist International Patch

Members of the Apple Valley Optimist Club at Los Domingos on April 2, 2013 (Photo Credit: Apple Valley Optimist Club)

Members of the Apple Valley Optimist Club at Los Domingos on April 2, 2013 (Photo Credit: Apple Valley Optimist Club)

The Apple Valley Optimist Club has reached their goal of raising $1000 to support United Through Reading’s Military Program. The USO along with its partner United Through Reading® give deployed troops the opportunity to record themselves reading books to their children, and the recordings are then mailed back to the family along with a copy of the book.

“Think how wonderful it would be for these children to have something so memorable, not to mention the moral support this offers to the parent at home,” Apple Valley Club Chairwoman Julie Whittingham said.

For the past year, the Apple Valley Optimist Club has tirelessly held various fundraisers to support this program. Some of the events the club held includes partnering with their local Barnes & Noble’s to gift wrap books over the holidays. The club also had a booth at a local festival fairgrounds passing out information to the general public asking them to step up and support the United Through Reading’s Military Program through the USO.

The Apple Valley Optimist Club was the first Optimist Club to receive the USO/Optimist International commemorative patch for their outstanding support of military families. All Optimist Clubs raising $1,000 or more earn this patch. Congratulations, Apple Valley Optimist Club!

Phi Gamma Delta at Allegheny College Raises $1,000 for USO

The first annual Fiji Valentine’s Day Date Auction in support of the USO

The first annual Fiji Valentine’s Day Date Auction in support of the USO

With many members who are serving or have served in the military, the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta launched its philanthropic partnership with the USO in 2011. The brothers accepted the challenge with over 30 chapters holding events and raising more than $30,000 in support of our brave men and women in uniform.

On February 12, 2013 the Pi Colony of Phi Gamma Delta at Allegheny College hosted the first annual Fiji Valentine’s Day Date Auction.  Up for bid were the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta, members of other fraternities and members of university athletic teams.   Like most date auctions, each individual lot included not just the person being auctioned off, but a useful, and sometimes unique, talent.  Buyers had choices ranging from the typical home cooked meal to trips to local establishments for a night of entertainment to the ever-in-demand cleaning service.  Groups of fraternity brothers were auctioned off for the big jobs like on-campus housing cleaning and extreme snow shoveling during the next blizzard.  The highest winning bid was for $190 for a group of twelve gentlemen from Sigma Alpha Epsilon.  At the end of the evening $1,000 was raised to benefit our servicemen and women through the USO.

“Many Phi Gamma Delta brothers proudly serve (or have served) our military, making it easy for our chapters to see the benefit their support provides. In addition, the coaching and resources the USO staff provide help our undergraduate chapters to more easily plan and execute fundraising and service events, allowing them to make a difference in the lives of our men and women in uniform,” said Rob Caudill, Director of Education, Phi Gamma Delta International Headquarters.

Going once, going twice...

Going once, going twice…

Fiji chapters have chosen to support programs like United Through Reading’s Military Program, Operation Phone Home, USO2GO, Mobile Entertainment Gaming Systems (MEGS) and Operation USO Care Package as well as in their local communities through our USO Centers. Phi Gamma Delta is on 140 campuses at the foremost colleges and universities of the United States and Canada. Service is one of the fraternity’s five values and recognizes its obligation to give back to the campuses and communities that foster its growth. – Lisa Ferrari Carter, USO Relationship Manager

College Humvee Contest Puts the Fun in Fundraising

Bake sale, raffle, spaghetti dinner—all perfectly respectable ways to support your favorite charity.

But if you prefer something a little edgier, try gathering some friends for a man-versus-machine showdown against a 5,000 pound Humvee.

Students at Johns Hopkins University raise more than $2,000 for the USO at a Humvee pushing contest on April 28th sponsored by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Photo courtesy Michael St. Germain.

That’s exactly what dozens of college students did in April, in a high-energy Humvee pushing competition sponsored by the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore—all to raise money for the USO.

Event organizer Michael St. Germain, a 19-year-old international studies major and Army ROTC cadet, says his fraternity president had asked him to come up with fundraising ideas for the USO.

At the same time he heard about a Humvee push as part of an ROTC competition. In fact, the military frequently uses Humvee pushing as a training and team building exercise.

“It just kind of clicked,” says St. Germain, “To have people pay to push a Humvee.”

He devised a simple yet original fundraising plan to appeal to a college crowd.
Students entered the contest in teams of ten, with a minimum of three girls per team. The entry fee was $10 per person. Each group had to push the Humvee about 50 meters through a campus parking lot until they hit a mark, then turn around and push it back.

The campus ROTC leader helped secure a military Humvee, local restaurants donated gift cards for prizes, and on a cool, gray Saturday morning, about 150 students turned out to flex their muscles against three tons of camouflage-colored steel on wheels.

“As soon as we heard about the Humvee push, it caught everyone’s attention because it’s so unique and it sounded like a good challenge,” says Kale Sweeney, who belongs to another campus fraternity.

Sweeney’s team, composed entirely of varsity athletes from the men’s football and women’s soccer teams, took first place, completing the course in just 44.2 seconds.

With 13 teams competing, plus some extra donations, Fiji raised about $2,000 for the USO.

“It’s nothing to sneeze at for a grassroots effort by 19- and 20-year-olds who haven’t done this kind of thing before,” says Pamela Horton from the USO of Metropolitan Washington.

The USO and Fiji began a national partnership last year, and so far more than 20 Fiji chapters have held fundraisers.

At Johns Hopkins, St. Germain says the intra-fraternity council has struggled to schedule solid, on-campus events, and the Humvee push was so popular, they’ve asked him to plan it again in the fall.

“There’s only about 5,000 kids on campus, and especially for a first time event, getting 150 people is pretty good,” he says. “It provided a great opportunity to have fun on campus, but also raise money for an excellent charity.” – Malini Wilkes, USO Director of Story Development