Lambda Chi Alpha’s philanthropy events such as Lambda Cabana and Watermelon Bust have been successful in raising money for several charities.
This year, the fraternity tried something new.
On Saturday, Lambda Chi Alpha hosted its first Feeding America FOOD Festival at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. The event replaced last year’s Make-A-Wish Concert philanthropy.
Lambda Chi Alpha External Vice President Matthew Meredith said the fraternity wanted this event to be greek-wide, not just associated with Lambda Chi Alpha.
“I want it to be an all-inclusive thing,” liberal studies senior Meredith said. “We are really badass, all of greek life. We raised almost half a million [dollars] this past year, but we didn’t collaborate together. If we work together, that’s huge. I figured this could be my last chance to bring the greek organizations together with the community so they understand that what we do is not just a social scene.”
The event featured four Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJs: Shhh, Wax Wane, Alt 9 and Syence. Food vendors from around San Luis Obispo contributed to the fundraising, with 15 to 25 percent of their profits donated to the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo (SLO Food Bank).
According to SLO Food Bank volunteer coordinator Caroline Johnson, 40 percent of the people SLO Food Bank serves are children and 20 percent are seniors. Johnson said the Feeding American FOOD Festival is a great way to help provide nutritious food to community members in need.
“A lot of times, there’s a stigma with individuals who are homeless and that’s just not the case for us,” Johnson said. “A large portion of who we serve is also college students. This is a great opportunity for San Luis Obispo residents to join with Cal Poly greek life and really be involved.”
Some performers at the festival were also tied to greek life at Cal Poly, including Syence, made up of two Cal Poly graduates and one Lambda Chi Alpha alumnus.
Brayden James and Zach Montoya met in a science class and collaborated to remix a song ironically named “Chemistry.” Syence’s remix of the song has about 400,000 plays on Soundcloud. Their song “The Rival” was featured in a Toyota commercial for the RAV4.
Syence has performed at about two dozen Lambda Chi Alpha events.
“I know from experience holding positions in Lambda, there’s a lot of pressure on greek life,” James said. “The more we do in the community, the more the community and U.S. can realize there is a lot of good coming from greek life.”
According to Meredith, Lambda Chi Alpha has been struggled to get other Cal Poly fraternities involved in the philanthropy, but sororities have been eager to participate in the Feeding America FOOD Festival. He believes there’s an “unspoken alpha-dog mentality among frats,” especially regarding the success of philanthropies.
“I’ve gotten support, but no responses yet for guys wanting to host a booth there,” Meredith said before the event. “It’s expected with the current relationships fraternities have with each other in supporting events. I’m hoping for a good turn-out with those guys.”
Meredith noted that historically, Lambda Chi Alpha and Sigma Kappa sorority have been great supporters of one another.
“We have done beach clean-ups and service events with them at local philanthropy and charity places,” Sigma Kappa philanthropy chair and business administration junior Claire Lorentz said. “A lot of people are very connected and have similar goals.”
Lorentz said philanthropy is something all of greek life can find common ground with.
“Everyone plays a fair part,” Lorentz said. “People can think what they want about greek life, but the community aspect of philanthropy is really important … For greek life, people come because they care about the success of the event. It’s cool ’cause it’s not like people just care about their own [philanthropy]. They want to see greek life succeed as a whole.”