November 19, 2001

Cornellians Ante Up at Victory Club

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More than 300 Cornellians lost money with good cheer Saturday at Alpha Delta Phi’s Victory Club.

The exact dollar amount raised from the charity event probably will not be calculated until today, according to Joe Lamagna ’03, Victory Club chair. Proceeds — the gambling losses of guests — will benefit the Rockaways in Queens, the site of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587.

Students who attended Victory Club donned tuxedos and sipped champagne as they joined tables of blackjack, roulette and a money wheel. At the end of the night, they were whisked back to their homes in a black limousine.

“It’s very sophisticated,” said Abby Kornfeld ’02, from her place at a blackjack table. “This house [Alpha Delta Phi] is beautiful.”

Kornfeld didn’t think she was winning any money but added, “It’s all for a good cause.”

The staff of On Site Volunteers Services (OSVS) stood in as dealers for the event. OSVS pairs groups and individuals in Tompkins County with organizations looking for volunteers.

The money raised will be counted toward the OSVS Greek Challenge, which encourages fraternity and sorority houses to raise at least $10,000 for OSVS through community service each year.

“With the Greek Challenge, we offered our services to organizations looking to do fundraisers,” said Marcie Houser ’03, who volunteered at a blackjack table. “We help staff the tables [and] staff the money wheel.”

“We provide about 20 of the volunteers to be dealers and then we will get a small potion of the proceeds,” said Sudha Nandagopal ’03, director of development for OSVS. “We have a strong connection with the Greek community.”

Cornell a capella groups After Eight and the Cayuga Waiters performed at Saturday’s event as well as jazz groups Bernie Milton and Johnny Russo.

Laura Granka ’02 checked out the tables with her boyfriend John Houghton, a graduate student at Union College. “It’s a new experience to see everyone excited about this event,” she said. “It’s all for charity.”

Guests dined on chocolate-covered strawberries, sushi and shrimp cocktails. Volunteers carried trays of cigarettes through the gambling room.

“It’s nice because you don’t get a chance to get all dressed up,” said Tess Dentes ’05 about her first Victory Club. “I’ve never seen cigarettes on a tray before.”

Victory Club has its roots in a fundraising effort for World War I when Alpha Delta Phi brothers sold Victory bonds for admission to the event. It was once rated the best party in the Ivy League by Playboy Magazine.

“It was a great time and a great turnout and I think everyone is pleased with it,” Lamagna said after the event.

Archived article by Beth Herskovits