fiji_concert

Ripe, a funk and pop fusion band from Boston, performed as part of a Fiji philanthropy event on Friday night that raised over $1,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Last Friday, instead of the usual quiet on Locust Walk, the street was filled with neon lights and crazy electric guitar solos.

On Nov. 13, the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, held a rock concert at its on-campus house at 36th Street and Locust Walk. The fraternity hosted rock band Ripe, and the group performed a two-hour long set including many of their most popular songs such as “Brother Sky” and “Talk to the Moon.”

The concert, which gained approximately 80 attendees at certain points in the night, was organized by Penn students. The fraternity brothers worked the lights and sound for the stage, and the stage itself was built by brothers over the course of the week.

Proceeds from the concert went to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit organization that seeks to understand and prevent suicide through various educational programs and support systems for those in need. Tickets were sold on Locust Walk and online for $10, and donations were also encouraged at the door to support the organization.

The current philanthropy chair of FIJI, College and Wharton senior Jorge Barriga, organized the event along with help from the other brothers on the Philanthropy Committee, College sophomores Pete Hopkinson and Brendan Broviak. Barriga emphasized the amount of time that the fraternity put into the event.

“It has definitely been a very packed semester, and I’m sure that next semester we’ll be doing a lot more things,” Barriga said. “We’re really trying to get the ball rolling on these projects.”

Last week’s concert raised over $1,000 for the AFSP, though it wasn’t the organization’s only philanthropic event of the semester. Last month the fraternity invited inner-city children from West Philadelphia to enjoy a haunted house created by the brothers, with different rooms throughout the house decorated with different themes.

“When the kids came, it was really cool to see how happy they were with the mask decorating,” Barriga said. “Kids are different: They get a lot of joy out of these little things, and it was great to be able to do that for them.”

Previous events have also supported other causes, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the James A. Finnigan Foundation, which works to provide governmental training to undergraduates through paid internships. Barriga expressed his desire to set a new standard in philanthropy within the fraternity during his time as philanthropy chair.

“When you think about any organization you join, or any organization for that matter, you think about the ability to mobilize great numbers of people, and I think it’s always good to have a balance between happiness from parties and the happiness of kids running around our chapter house,” Barriga said.

A few of the brothers plan to go to a local soup kitchen and make sandwiches for families in need for Thanksgiving, and others are planning to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a few weeks. Some fraternities are also planning to work together to create a calendar with pictures of the fraternities’ dogs, with proceeds from sales benefiting the ASPCA.

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