Watermelon Bash, Wing Fest supports local community

TUG OF WAR CONTESTANT, JEN PAPAZIAN ’16, FALLS into pool of water after losing grip of the rope.

On Saturday, three Greek organizations hosted their annual charity events. Lambda Chi Alpha hosted the Watermelon Bash, and Pi Beta Phi and Theta Chi co-hosted Wing Fest.

Watermelon Bash is a national event sponsored by every individual chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha with the goal of bringing campus together through friendly competition. It consists of multiple events including watermelon carving, tug of war, watermelon wheelbarrow race, watermelon toss, eating contest, and watermelon smashing. Students created teams of approximately eight people to compete in the games. Teams included other Greek houses, alumni, clubs, and ad hoc groups of students who wanted to have fun and support the cause.

When asked what her favorite part of the event was, Jennifer Papazian ’16, who participated in the events with her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, said, “We don’t get many opportunities to all be together in one place and I feel like philanthropy events help us make connections and bonds with other houses. Also, who wouldn’t want to smash some watermelons with friends to raise money for an awesome cause?”

The proceeds of the event go to the Troy Unity House, which works with Feeding America. Lambda Chi Alpha has a national partnership with Feeding America. This year, they are proud to announce that the event raised approximately $800. Just as important as raising money for a good cause, however, was how much the event brought people together. “It’s a tradition that incorporates us into the community and brings people together,” said Raymond Jacobson ’15, the brother in charge of the event.

The women’s rugby team was declared the winner of the event, taking home a “Watermelon Bash Champions” trophy. “As soon as they announced that rugby won first, we freaked out! All of us were in shock! Each team member contributed their assets to the competition and we could not have won without the people we had,” said Isabel Johnson ’16, a member of the winning team. The competition brought not only campus closer, but friends closer as well.

The third annual Wing Fest, an event held by every chapter of Pi Beta Phi, also occurred this past weekend. They partnered up with Theta Chi for the event and split the proceeds to give to their respective organizations. Pi Beta Phi donated their portion to First Book, an organization that aims to eliminate illiteracy, and Theta Chi used their proceeds to support the Sunny Side after school day care in Troy. They use the money to buy candy, costumes, and presents for the children around holidays such as Christmas and Easter.

The participants of Wing Fest made homemade chicken wings that were judged based on four categories: crowd favorite, spiciest, most original, and messiest. While all of the entries were fantastic, Theta Chi won crowd favorite, while Chi Phi was voted spiciest, Phi Kappa Theta was named most original, and Theta Xi made the messiest wings. The winners were each given a gift basket that included vouchers to some businesses in downtown Troy.

“I participated because I like to see the Greek community united,” said Lauren Croft ’17, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, when asked why she attended Wing Fest.

Wing Fest proved to be a success, raising a fair amount of money to be donated. Wing Fest was a fairly small event its first year, but it has been growing rapidly ever since. The host houses hope that it will continue to grow and that they will see more and more involvement in the years to come.

“The encouragement and the passion which surrounds [these] events fully combine sisterhood bonding and philanthropy,” said Cassie Megna ’17, a sophomore member of Pi Beta Phi. “It is important for students to be able to give back to their community. It’s such a rewarding experience.” Lauren Wilt ’16, Alpha Gamma Delta’s philanthropy chair, attended both events this weekend and said, “Philanthropy is important to the RPI community because it allows both Greeks and non-Greeks to come together and work towards a common goal.”