ATO hosts fundraiser

by Jessalyn Holdcraft

Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) strives to score a strike for its spring signature event Bowl-a-Palooza.

“This one is really big for us because the last couple of years our signature events haven’t been too strong with the lack of members and lack of hard work,” junior Shawn Cambridge said. “I think if we can put together a signature event that we can use annually, it’ll speak volumes toward our chapter house and the people we’ve brought on.”

The fraternity hosts one signature event per semester. In the fall, the brothers put on ‘Freezin’ for a Reason’ to benefit Hope Ministries Homeless Outreach program. 

This semester Bowl-a-Palooza will be April 7 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Val Lanes in West Des Moines to benefit Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.

“There have been volunteers from Simpson who have helped Habitat for Humanity, but never raising money,”  said Taylor Van De Krol, sophomore and ATO social services chair . “We thought they would be a great charity since no one sponsors them on Simpson campus.”

The fraternity used to support Big Brothers/Big Sisters before the group left Indianola.

“We wanted to do something that’s on the national scale but involved in the local area,” said Jordan Smith, junior and ATO president,. “When it came down to voting, we just figured that the Habitat for Humanity for the Greater Des Moines Area was a lot better of a choice because it’s something that we can get the local people involved with because they feel it can benefit their community.”

This signature event is all about getting the community as well as campus involved. ATO brothers went around to local businesses to ask for donations for Bowl-a-Palooza’s silent auction and door prizes as well as sponsors for strikes or spares per frame.

“That’s basically where we’re going to earn the most money is through sponsorships,” Van De Krol said. “We took a lot of time and effort to think of ways area businesses could sponsor the event and how we can make it more public and still have people come to the event and bowling for a great cause.”

While businesses contribute gift cards or monetary pledges, individuals can register for unlimited bowling for $15. Between donations and individual bowlers, ATO hopes to raise $10,000. 

“We decided on having a goal of raising $10,000 for this event,” Van De Krol said. “It’s a really steep goal especially for having a first event like this, but we know that it’s attainable.”

In addition to local businesses and Simpson students participating in the event, the fraternity has sought to include their alumni.

“They’re going to help spread the word,” Van De Krol said. “We’ve been in contact with them throughout this process. We’d like the alumni to get the word out to businesses because a lot of alumni have a business or are a part of a business that are willing to get the word out.”

ATO pointed out its rebuilding efforts in the fall as a main motivating factor to make this signature event a success.

“It’s definitely overwhelming especially since this is the first one, and ATO is still in a rebuilding process,” Van De Krol said. “We’re just trying to set a good foundation for next year. Hopefully, all this hard work will pay off, and we’ll have a great night of bowling and we’ll raise a lot of money for a good charity.”

Despite their support and efforts put toward Bowl-a-Palooza, the planning process has not been without some hiccups for ATO.

“It’s actually been quite a challenge because all of the guys who used to be in the house were all first years besides two,” Smith said. “It was a little difficult because we were never planners, so it was hard to take on the leadership roles. We’ve done a great job doing it; it’s just been a new experience. Next year it will be even better because we’ll know what roads to take. This year it was kind of mess at points, but that’s just what happens when you step in to the role.”

To add to the challenge facing new and inexperienced leadership, organization and communication have factored into the signature event’s planning committee.

“The most stressful part is getting organized and making sure we get this done in a timely manner,” Van De Krol said. I know the deadline is approaching quickly, but for this big of an event you have to try and make sure you get to area businesses, get the sponsors, make sure people are at the event, and actually spending the time and getting things done.”

With  Bowl-a-Palooza about a week away, ATO members are looking forward to seeing their signature event in action.

“Well, it’s been very difficult and it’s been a long process of getting this accomplished,” Van De Krol said. “The thing I’m most excited for is actually seeing the finished product and the fruits of our labor and all of the hard work we’ve done. Hopefully, we have a big turnout and just see how our work really paid off. Hopefully, by April 7 we’ll have a lot of people rallied around us, especially Simpson College students and the Greek life, because this is still a rebuilding year for us, but we still want to make a good impression, not only for ATO and Greek Life, but also for Simpson College campus.”