Phi Delta Theta Hosts Phunky Phi Disco

The event raised more than $1,100 for ALS research.

MU's second-oldest fraternity, Phi Delta Theta, hosted its traditional roller skate disco party Sunday after a two-year lapse in philanthropy work.

This '70s themed bash, known as the Phunky Phi Disco was held at the Empire Roller Rink, and all attendees were encouraged to dress in their disco best and be prepared for relays, limbo and an array of party games.

"Everyone dressed up in '70s costumes and roller-skated," Phi Delta Theta President Blake Winchester said. "As long as I can remember we've been raising money with the Phunky Phi Disco."

Winchester said after some time off from philanthropy due to poor organization, the fraternity decided it was time to start up the roller skate charity event for the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis association again.

"We want to assert ourselves as a philanthropic force," Winchester said.

Participating sororities included Phi Mu, Alpha Chi Omega and an interest group from Delta Gamma. Money for the ALS association was raised by charging entrance fees and selling event themed T-shirts.

"It was a blast, and we're going to try to team up as more than an interest group next year," Delta Gamma member Stephanie Rasch said on the topic of Phi Delta Theta's philanthropic return.

Rasch and the other women in her group heard about the event through friends and wanted to be involved in more charity work. Rasch said a roller rink event sounded like a good time.

The Phunky Phi Disco had more than 100 guests and raised a total of $1,100 for the ALS association. Overall, Winchester considered the event a definite success.

Philanthropy Chairman Chas Alexander said he wants Phi Delta Theta to become more known for its charity work as well.

"This is our first event in two years," Alexander said. "We want to become more known, but it'll take time."

Alexander said all of the positive feedback Phi Delta Theta received from attendees would translate into more sorority participation in the fall, when it hopes to host another Phunky Phi Disco.

"We're looking to get five sororities next time in addition to more interest groups, and we're thinking we can get twice as many people to come out too," Alexander said.

Both Alexander and Winchester said they hope their success this year can allow them to double participation and raise at least $2,000 in the fall.

Because major league baseball player Lou Gehrig himself was a Phi Delta Theta member at Columbia University, all charity funds raised through Phi Delta Theta are donated to ALS research in his honor.

ALS is a disease of the nerve cells that control voluntary movement. The disease affects around one out of every 100,000 people. Although a small number of cases are caused by a genetic defect, the general cause is unknown.

According to Phi Delta Theta's international Web site, the fraternity partners with the ALS association for all of its nationwide philanthropic efforts. Each year, Phi Delta Theta chapters across the nation raise thousands of dollars both in honor of Lou Gehrig and in an effort to find a cure for ALS.

"We want to bring more attention to ALS and to the charity work we're doing, but it takes time," Alexander said. "We've got to make baby steps."

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