The Chi Omega women set a goal of $25,000 for the event — enough to grant five wishes. In the end, they raised a grand total of $22,500, which trumped the $20,000 raised last year.
“There was a really big turnout,” Chi Omega president and city and regional planning senior Jenn Smitheram said. Chi O Casino is a casino night that everyone — the San Luis Obispo community, greek life, Cal Poly students — are all invited to.
According to Smitheram, all the Chi Omega chapters in the United States host the casino-style event.
“It’s like our philanthropy event,” she said.
Once the guests arrive at the event, they are given chips to use at the various stations. Inside, the Chi Omega members host games such as poker and blackjack.
“Every (Chi Omega member) is assigned a different game,” Chi Omega philanthropy chair and communication studies junior Robin Sweeney said.
According to Sweeney, everyone uses their chips throughout the night at the various stations instead of money. At the end of the night, the chips can be traded in for baskets made by the sorority.
Once the event is over, the Chi Omega women count up the money raised and send it to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Tri-Counties. The Make-A-Wish Foundation then connects Chi Omega with children whose wishes will be granted with this money.
“We get to meet the families and kids (and) have a dinner with (them),” Smitheram said.
According to Smitheram, there is a wish-granting party sometime before June that everyone in Chi Omega attends.
“It’s held at Chuck E. Cheese or some sort of restaurant before they go on their trip,” she said.
“Most kids want to go to Disney World that I know of,” Smitheram said.
Sweeney said the wish-granting parties are what she enjoys the most.
“It’s really exciting because we get to meet the kids,” Sweeney said. “We’re actually giving the money to the people and seeing how it affects them.”
Sweeney also had another connection with the Make-A-Wish Foundation — her brother was granted a wish through the foundation.
“It’s nice to give back to the place (that granted my brother’s wish),” Sweeney said.
In previous years, the Chi O Casino was held at the San Luis Obispo Veteran’s Hall. But this year, the event was held at Cal Poly’s Chumash Auditorium.
According to Smitheram, having the event in Chumash allowed for them to accommodate more people.
“We had like 900 people come (Saturday night),” Smitheram said.
The Chi O Casino is also a dry event.
“There’s no alcohol or anything at all,” Smitheram said.
Chi Omega member and recreation, parks and tourism administration sophomore Katie McGuire said everyone in Chi Omega was very happy that they are able to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“It’s pretty much a great way for Chi Omega to show its care for Make-A-Wish,” McGuire said.