The Zeta Psi fraternity and the Kappa Gamma sorority co-sponsored their third annual “Music for Life” benefit concert Saturday at the Zeta Psi fraternity house. Bringing together students, faculty, administration and Ithaca community members under one roof, the evening of jazz and desserts raised money to benefit AIDS Work of Tompkins County and On Site Volunteer Services.
Participants socialized and discussed public service issues. The Johnny Russo Classic Jazz Duo, the co-ed a capella group The Class Notes, and members of the Cornell University Lab Ensemble all performed to the audience’s delight.
Between the entrance fee and flower sales, the event raised a total of approximately $2,500 for the two organizations, with additional donations expected in the coming weeks.
Samantha Castillo-Davis ’01, philanthropy chair of Kappa Gamma, and Steve Maley ’02, vice president of Zeta Psi, coordinated and managed the event.
“Music for Life was founded two years ago as a forum in which Cornell University students, faculty, and administration met to discuss relevant common issues with the greater Ithaca community,” Castillo-Davis said.
She explained that the goal is ultimately to inform students of available public service opportunities in the hopes of recruiting volunteers.
Last year, On Site began to receive financial assistance from the benefit, with AIDS Work participating since Music for Life’s inception two years ago.
Zeta Psi President Derek Samuelson ’01 said that the event serves as an additional opportunity for students and faculty to converse outside of the classroom. “We are supporting two great organizations by holding a large event that everyone knows about. This is our biggest public service benefit by far for the semester,” Samuelson said.
Zeta Psi pulls together four or five small public service benefits each semester, Samuelson noted.
“We expanded the event this year to include the community at large. Having started the planning in September, the organization and preparation took a great deal of time and energy. Samantha and I both put a lot of work into it, and pretty much everyone in our organizations participated,” Maley said. The work mainly involved selling flowers, creating decorations, invitations and advertising, he added.
Music for Life was started as a barbecue ten years ago between Kappa Gamma and Zeta Psi in which students and faculty members dined together. The event was built on the connection that existed between the sorority and fraternity and was transformed to take off as a campus-wide charitable benefit two years ago.
“So much goes into organizing this event in order to make a big difference for the two organizations involved,” Samuelson said. “The event also raises the reputation of the Greek System in general and reinforces its positive dedication to serving the public,” Samuelson added.
“This is the sixth year that On Site has been in operation. Our purpose is to connect Cornell University and Ithaca College students with the community and build a true relationship,” said Itai Dinour ’01, executive director of On Site.
Len Bartel, director of development and public relations for AIDS Work, said his organization strives to educate the community on issues such as safer sex. The organization focuses on outreach in rural areas and also provides support groups.
“Fourty-three percent of the AIDS Work budget depends on contributions similar to this event,” said Bartel. In efforts to reach more of the rural communities, Bartel says fundraisers like this can go a long way. “More important than the money raised is the awareness that this event provides for the community,” Bartel said.
“It is wonderful to see students in the Greek houses doing a nice thing for the common good and giving back to the community,” Dinour said.
Two years ago, Kappa Gamma’s former President Beth Presutti ’00 helped Zeta Psi’s Brian Delrosario ’00 and Sunny Gleason ’00 create the idea for the Music for Life night.
“We were interested in coordinating a philanthropy event. We did have a history of working with Zeta Psi and came up with the notion of a jazz night. We wanted it to benefit a worthwhile cause and AIDS Work seemed ideal,” Presutti said.
“We sent out invites and response cards to over 700 people in the community that we thought would be interested in attending. I feel great about the turnout; the number here tonight is truly amazing,” said Lindsay Patros ’02 , a Kappa Gamma sister.
“We are always looking to improve on our community image. I’m extremely impressed with the phenomenal turnout. The number of people exceeded my expectations,” Maley said.
Archived article by Chris Westgate