Changing ThurtenE landscape makes fundraising less of a facade

It’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, the cherry trees are blooming and Greek life members everywhere are sprinting to Lot. As tradition goes, fraternities and sororities on the Washington University campus construct facades for the nation’s oldest and largest student-run carnival, ThurtenE. This year, however, features a welcome shift in the quantity and types of facades constructed.

Student Life sees this change as a profitable alternative for ThurtenE participants—decreasing the amount of time and money spent on facade construction and presentation frees up resources for more charitable efforts.

The junior honorary that plans and runs ThurtenE pairs with a local charity each year and donates its profits to that group. In previous years, the honorary has been heavily criticized—by Student Life, for one—for its lack of transparency and actual philanthropic benefits. The facades tend to be expensive, time-consuming and underappreciated. They become more of a competition between students and less of a contribution to the community as a whole.

This year, some fraternities and sororities chose to construct half-facades, booths or not participate at all. Not at the ThurtenE Honorary’s orders—they just simply didn’t want to do it anymore.

With the introduction of half-facades comes an increase in the diversity of fundraising efforts. Whereas groups have chosen to continue their previously successful ideas—like Delta Sigma Pi’s funnel cake stand—others have begun exploring new options. While everyone loved the classic “Pinball Wizard” put on by Alpha Phi and the now-departed Sigma Phi Epsilon in 2011, we believe this diversification is for the better.

This year, for example, Chi Omega and Beta Theta Pi are constructing a miniature golf course, which has the potential to be both more profitable and popular than student plays by allowing guests to interact with the facades themselves. Less of the “same old, same old” possesses the capacity to initiate a new era for the carnival by generating creativity of ideas and an elaboration upon past successes.

Student Life hopes that the introduction of varying types of facades—accompanied by the East End expansion—will introduce a new type of ThurtenE: one with an increase in the diversity of draws for the community. With more visitors come more donations, thereby bringing in more money for worthy causes.

If this trend of fewer facades continues, however, we urge student groups—namely fraternities and sororities—to spend this newfound free time wisely. If they aren’t going to contribute to ThurtenE specifically, we hope that they will instead donate their time to volunteering with St. Louis organizations at other points throughout the year.