A crowd of more than 500 people roared with anticipation in Zoellner Arts Center for the start of an event the community has not experienced in person since before the COVID-19 pandemic: student dance competition “So You Think You Kan Dance.”
The competition was organized by the Kappa Delta sorority and hosted by Melissa Nadler, ‘25, the sorority’s director of alumni relations, and Julia Klayman, ‘25, the sorority’s vice president of events and programming, in Baker Hall on Feb. 28. Kappa Delta held the event to support its philanthropy efforts with Prevent Child Abuse America and Project Child, the local beneficiary in the Lehigh Valley.
According to their website, Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to proactively preventing child abuse and neglect by promoting science-informed programs and resources and establishing new research.
In the past two years, the event was held virtually. Klayman said while this was convenient for the Greek chapters to work without restrictive deadlines, the return to an in-person format excited the Lehigh community.
“The event definitely (helps) our fundraising initiatives because the excitement on campus is unparalleled,” Klayman said.
At the end of the event, the hosts said they raised over $12,000, exceeding their $10,000 goal.
In addition to raising money, the event also helped raise awareness for child abuse. In between each performance, the hosts shared a different fact about Prevent Child Abuse America as a way of educating the audience.
“We’re able to see the money we raise make a tangible change because we’re not only working with the national organization, we’re working with their local beneficiary right here in Lehigh Valley,” Klayman said.
More than 20 campus organizations choreographed and performed a dance at the competition in support. The event featured Greek chapters and other organizations, such as Lehigh Dance Team, Bad Company and the Latin-Caribbean Fusion team, Tumbao.
Alpha Epsilon Pi won this year’s competition, which granted them 10% of ticket sales toward their own philanthropy, which is the Jewish ideal of repairing the world and giving back to the Jewish community.
Calista Dovik, ‘25, a member of the Lehigh Dance Team, said the team practiced three times a week to prepare for the event.
She said she was happy to contribute to a good cause.
“I’m not in a sorority, so being able to support a sorority’s philanthropy through performing at this event is nice,” Dovik said.
As an annual community event, many organizations participate consistently as tradition.
Thomas Weinstock, ‘25, vice president of health and safety at Theta Chi, said his fraternity chose to participate this year because they enjoyed attending the event last year.
“All around, it is a great way to give back to the community,” Weinstock said. “Even though you are not really doing anything hands-on with the community, it’s a great fundraiser.”
Weinstock’s position in his organization is to coordinate philanthropy events. He said Theta Chi has faced challenges getting other organizations to participate in their initiatives.
He said he appreciates the competition because it encourages organizations to interact with each other, and, ultimately, have a larger impact. He hopes this event will inspire more collaboration in the Lehigh community.
Klayman was in charge of planning the event and coordinating with Zoellner and the participating organizations.
She said she began planning the event at the beginning of the academic year by booking the performance space, speaking to the philanthropy and community service leaders in other Greek chapters, and getting an estimate of how many people would be involved.
In terms of working with her own chapter, Klayman said they dedicated the week leading up to the event to marketing, selling tickets and promoting their philanthropy.
In support of the cause, Playa Bowls put 20% of its sales between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Feb. 22 toward Prevent Child Abuse America.
“It’s definitely been a big planning event, but it (paid) off,” Klayman said.
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