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Phi Gamma Delta's fundraiser for suicide prevention featured Penn's performing arts and a silent auction. 

Credit: Gisell Gomez

Last Thursday evening, the brothers of Phi Gamma Delta began a new tradition by integrating the arts into their philanthropic endeavors.

On March 24, the fraternity, commonly known as Fiji, hosted its first-ever performing arts showcase and silent auction at their chapter house. The fraternity welcomed a total of seven different Penn performing arts groups, featuring swing and a capella. The show, which was organized by students and hosted by Philanthropy Chair and College junior Grant Kleiser, witnessed an audience of around 200 people.

Proceeds from the silent auction went to the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. It had been two years since Fiji voted on making this their chapter’s philanthropic organization of choice.

“A lot of people have had friends who have suffered through mental crises and struggled with suicidal thoughts,” Kleiser said. “We thought it was a very important thing, especially at Penn, to support and to show that we care about these people. These people are like us.”

The performing arts idea emerged from the desire to put more creative thought into event planning.

College senior and Fiji President Ryan Anderson — a member of The Daily Pennsylvanian opinion board — said that when he began his term, “we had been searching for a few years for more creative events, to ramp up the events, organize bigger showings and involve bigger organizations.”

The philanthropy committee was especially content to see such a new variety of people in the audience. Kleiser recalls seeing many unfamiliar faces in the crowd and feeling excited at the prospect of “bridging the gap between organizations and social scenes,” he said.

College sophomore Elizabeth Camarillo, an audience member, also noted the wide range of attendees gathered at the event. “It’s really nice to see such a diverse group of people, even among performers,” she said.

The event earned a total of $1198, with $510 of the total coming from tickets and $688 from the silent auction. Their community service dedication is expected to continue with a park cleanup scheduled for this week.

“We have a big community service event and a big philanthropy event every semester,” Kleiser said. “We want this to be something the brothers support wholeheartedly.”

With the intention of making this event a new Fiji tradition, the brothers encouraged students to look forward to next year’s showcase as well as emphasize their new initiative to opening their space for fraternities, organizations and non-Penn affiliated organizations to utilize.

“Be on the lookout for us making this a real tradition and establishing this as a presence on Penn’s campus,” Anderson said.

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