Bloomsburg Fraternity Kappa Sigma raised $3,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project during Block Party 2014. The fraternity expects to raise only half of that over the course of this entire academic year, a BU alum says. That means a year of fundraising efforts will amount to half of what the fraternity could fundraise in a single day.
Since new town laws governing Block Party gatherings were announced in the spring of 2015, organizations that took advantage of obtaining a party permit have taken a hit to their fundraising efforts, both to support their organizations and their philanthropies. Since its early days in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Greek organizations hosting Block Party gatherings would raise funds by charging guests for food, access to the keg and to use bathroom facilities. Most of the profits went to philanthropy organizations that the Greeks supported.
In more recent years, many sororities and fraternities have sold T-shirts for Block Party. The shirts will include different logos or catch phrases that somehow reference alcohol. The money raised from the T-shirts is used for community service and house renovations.
“The frats and sororities made easy money through selling the shirts,” Cesare Deluisi, president of the Panhellenic Council, which oversees Greek life said. “This was a way for us to pay for community service and fundraise for other events that we hosted with money that wasn’t directly out of our pocket.”
Over the past several years, Kappa Sigma held a Block Party event on East Street that attracted hundreds. Students could enter the area only if they paid and were wearing wristbands that could be bought from fraternity members: $10 for Greek Life members and $20 for non-Greek Life members. The laws state that a permit can be obtained from the town, but the property that is holding the event must be zoned for commercial use and not just residential. This makes it more challenging for students because most students live on residential properties.
At the Kappa Sigma Block Party, musical acts, and security personnel were there to ensure a fun and safe atmosphere for the student body, they say. Jesse Dugan, a 2015 Kappa Sigma alum, said the fraternity applied for and acquired a permit, then sold wristbands that allowed entry to their event.
‘Releasing the animals’
Last spring, when the town council meeting was held to discuss the new Block Party laws, many members of different organizations came out to take a stand. The meeting attracted around 50 members. Those who attended said that the town council was not open to many of the students’ positions. Councilman Carey Howell suggested that students should try and host Block Party on campus. Another brother of Kappa Sigma, Ace Ahmed, was quoted in a Press Enterprise report that with these new rules that the town is just “releasing the animals.” Ahmed helped establish one of the biggest legal parties during Block Party 2014.
“We offered to donate to the town and increase security at our events, but the town council did not want to hear any of it. We tried to work out a compromise, negotiate, and meet halfway, but they were very dead set in their ways to bring an end to block party.” Dugan recalled in a discussion with Block Party Insider.
The date of this year’s Block Party has been set to April 16.
Has your organization been affected by Block Party? Let us know. Block Party Insider is following the story.
This article originally appeared on BlockPartyInsider.wordpress.com, a project for Mass Communications’ Spring 2016 Journalism Workshop. You can view all of the workshop’s work there.