Students, families and community members congregated on the Green for an afternoon of outdoor activities, student performances and barbecue at Saturday’s Jamboree for the Junction, a philanthropy event organized by the summer Panhellenic Council. The carnival-style event aimed to raise awareness about the Junction, a life-skills center for at-risk teens run through the Listen Center in White River Junction, Vt., according to summer Panhell President Eliana Piper ’14.
Panhell raised over $2,500 for the nonprofit and expects to reach over $3,000 in total contributions after further donations are calculated, Piper said. In addition to raising money for a charitable cause, the event also aimed “to bring the Greek system together and portray the Greek system in a positive light,” Piper said. All campus fraternities and sororities and nearly all active coeducational houses participated or supported the event, according to Piper. Greek houses ran a variety of carnival booths, while the Greek Leadership Council and representatives from the Junction each hosted educational tables, Piper said. The booths at the event included face painting, co-sponsored by Bones Gate fraternity and Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority, a dunk tank hosted by Alpha Delta, Theta Delta Chi and Gamma Delta Chi fraternities and a liquid nitrogen ice cream station co-run by Sigma Epsilon Phi fraternity and the Dartmouth Physics Society, Piper said.
There were 13 student-run activity booths total, Piper said. The organization of the booths surrounding the Green and the free barbecue provided by Stinson’s created a relaxing and fun environment for all attendees, Panhell programming co-chair Kate Shelton ’14 said. “It was so much better than we could have imagined,” Shelton said. “You could just walk through and go booth to booth.” Attendees could make optional donations by cash or DASH at each table or booth, which were all run by student volunteers. “It worked well to have people give directly to the table and the faces they saw,” Piper said. Shelton said that while most Panhell officers had not heard of the Junction prior to planning the event, the organization’s emphasis on leadership and service connected well with the values of the Greek system that Panhell wanted to promote. “We decided on the Junction because we wanted a local charity,” Piper said. Panhell officers also found the Junction appealing because it provides support and a “safe space” for teens, which is similar to the Greek system’s “ideal mission,” Piper said. Planning for the Jamboree began in April, shortly after the summer council was elected, Piper said. “When we were elected, we knew we wanted to do something for the community that involved the Greek system,” she said. “[Panhell] has been the driving force putting this [event] on.” Panhell’s major event planning included reaching out to all Greek houses to encourage participation and reserving equipment and other logistical items, Piper said. Shelton said one of the biggest challenges to planning the event was reserving the Green as the event space. Because the College tends to only allow traditional events to take place on the Green, Panhell planned months in advance to use the public space for the Jamboree, Shelton said. “It’s not like booking a study room,” she said. While it was not originally intentional, the Jamboree also coincided with this year’s Sophomore Family Weekend, Piper said. Panhell met with the Family Weekend co-chairs to ensure that the Collis Center was not organizing any conflicting events, Piper said. She also said the Family Weekend planners partnered with Panhell and paid for half of the barbecue. Sophomore Family Weekend co-chair Andres Ramirez ’14 said that the event gave parents, who might be “skeptical” about the Greek system, a chance to “see its philanthropic side.” “It was perfect especially since not only did it bring the Greek system together, which is important for parents, but also gives them a way to give back,” he said. Ramirez met with Piper every week since the beginning of Summer term to discuss plans and offer suggestions for the event, he said.
Panhell took the Family Weekend planners’ suggestion to ask for donations rather than sell tickets at each booth, he said. Over 300 families attended the weekend and most “probably stopped by” the event, according to Ramirez. “The Jamboree was very successful,” he said, emphasizing that there would be “internal memory” of the event to pass to next year’s Family Weekend organizers. Mandy Bowers ’14 said she enjoyed volunteering at the “really popular” Pie-A-Delt booth sponsored by Phi Delta Alpha fraternity, Sigma Delta sorority and Kappa Delta sorority. Although Bowers did not get pied by her parents who attended the event, she said they did enjoy watching her working the booth. “I got pied in the face to raise money for a good cause,” she said. In addition to the Greek house booths, the Jamboree featured performances by summer dance groups Shebalite, Splendaplum and Camp Vandana and summer a cappella group Summerphonix. Summerphonix member Michael Zhu ’14 said he enjoyed performing over Sophomore Family Weekend while also supporting an important cause. “Families of performers really enjoyed it,” Zhu said. “It was great to show families what their kids are up to on campus.” Piper said she received a lot of positive feedback about the event and that Panhell executives are planning to make it an annual event. Next year, Piper said Panhell will attempt to set fundraising goals and may create a competition among Greek houses for the best booth.
Piper said she enjoyed the chance to organize such a large campus-wide event.
“This is the time that sophomores are going from being underclassmen to campus leaders,” she said.
Piper said her favorite part was having her family see all the work she, Panhell and other members of the Greek community put into the event.
Piper also said she was thankful that the weather, which predicted thunderstorms, was good from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. when the event was occurring. “It started to rain right when the event ended, so that was a good moment,” she said. Staff writer Claire Groden contributed reporting to this article.