Off-campus fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) raised more than $25,000 in philanthropy during the 2016-17 academic year, according to former Vice President Austin Changras.
“Being off-campus, it’s been a little bit of a struggle trying to get things running and moving because we don’t have help from campus,” Changras said. “We’re trying to make a name for ourselves.”
To make that name, Changras said the fraternity added two new philanthropy events: the 5k Zombie run held in March and the “Rise Above” boxing event held in June.
Fraternity members received six to seven weeks of formal boxing training at Pit.Fit San Luis Obispo to prepare for the “Rise Above” event. The total $6,000 raised was given to RISE, a local organization that provides resources for victims of sexual assault.
“We’re trying to get rid of that stigma because that was years ago and we’ve built back from the ground up and donating to that cause shows people that’s not what we are, that’s not what we’re about. We’re a different fraternity than we were three years ago,” Changras said.
The 5k Zombie run was a new addition to PIKE’s philanthropy this year. Changras estimated that 80 of 110 fraternity members and 400 participants, including families and sorority members, attended.
Contrary to a traditional 5k run, “you have various amounts of people decked out in zombies, makeup, ragged clothes. You have flags on you and zombies try to pull your flags,” Changras said.
The 5k Zombie run raised a total of $9,600, donated to the Autism Spectrum Center.
Combined, the two events attracted more than 500 participants and raised $15,600. The remaining funds came from a barbecue that raised $1,300 for veterans as part of the Wounded Warrior Project. PIKE’s ballroom for breast cancer event in February rounded out the total funds to $25,893.
The ballroom event raised money through a bidding process in which women agreed to pay an amount of money to go on a date with a fraternity member. To inform possible donors, each member in PIKE created a Facebook profile with a small biography.
The minimum bid was set at $40 while five or six women bid more than $200, according to Changras. The entire $8,993 raised at the event will benefit breast cancer research through PIKE’s national philanthropy, the Susan G. Komen fund.
In addition to raising $25,893 for philanthropies, PIKE increased the required number of service hours from three hours to five hours per quarter for its members.
“It really shows us that it doesn’t matter if we’re on or off-campus and that we can still do good things for the community,” Changras said.
The fraternity was disaffiliated from Cal Poly in January 2015 for providing alcohol to minors and serving alcohol at an open party with unrestricted access by non-members, according to the Dean of Students website.
“I have no knowledge of or comment on their fundraising efforts,” Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Kathleen McMahon told Mustang News in an email. “It will have no influence on their judicial standing and is not related to the sanctions they have been tasked to complete for reinstatement.”
On March 10, 2015, PIKE was informed that Cal Poly launched an investigation into alleged accusations of sexual assault. This notification came three months after PIKE appealed a suspension for another sexual assault and party violations in January 2015.
Changras said he hopes the fraternity’s fundraising efforts will help show the Dean of Students the chapter can be reinstated.
The vote to recognize PIKE as a part of Cal Poly’s IFC will come in spring 2019.