Beta Theta Pi opts out of ThurtenE, will hold independent event
Beta Theta Pi will hold an alternative philanthropy event with a local charter school rather than participate in the ThurtenE Carnival this year.
Junior Nate Stanfield, Beta’s philanthropy chair, said the fraternity will hold a philanthropy event independent of the carnival on Saturday, April 15. The decision to do so was made through a chapter-wide vote. Stanfield said one of Beta’s main priorities this semester was to construct a philanthropy event based on sustained community relationships.
The decision comes following a general shift away from full facade constructions in recent years.
“I don’t necessarily have bad things to say about ThurtenE. We just thought that there is a good opportunity for Beta to try something to have more a direct relationship with the community contacts,” Stanfield said.
Beta has been cultivating a relationship with Northside Community School, a K-5 public charter school in North St. Louis, since early 2015, according to Stanfield. The fraternity is striving to raise funds to update the school’s computer lab. An upcoming event at Northside will feature a putt-putt course previously built for ThurtenE in order to promote a more sustainable model for philanthropy compared to the construction and demolition of a facade.
“We have a golf course called ‘Putt Putt for Northside.’ It’s a nine-hole putt-putt course,” Stanfield said. Students and parents from the charter school, as well as Washington University community members, are encouraged to attend the event, which will also have music and food.
“Everything we make is going toward these computers,” Stanfield added. “We kind of know where this money is going and we want to be as transparent as possible with Wash. U and with Beta.”
The outcome of the event will influence Beta’s decision to organize philanthropy events in tandem with ThurtenE. While Beta’s national chapter does not hold philanthropy events, Washington University’s chapter has an opportunity to set the precedent for how the fraternity will engage in philanthropy in the future.
“The idea is that we could potentially do this in the future. There’s a lot of uncharted territory here. The national chapter doesn’t have a philanthropy event so…we had no starting or reference points,” Stanfield said.
While Beta will not be present in the carnival this April, ThurtenE Honorary, in a statement from its public relations officers, juniors Briana Belfiore and Franklin Ohemeng, emphasized that the carnival is not experiencing a decline in participation.
“There are many different ways students and the local community can get involved with the Carnival besides building facades and we have not noticed a decline in participation. New student groups are constantly participating in the Carnival for the first time every year and the entertainment at the Carnival is consistently diverse, exciting, and unique every year,” the statement reads. “We and the facade groups do not see building open facades as decreasing the scale, but rather a way to expand creativity. The goal is to connect Washington University with the greater St. Louis community and we can do that in many ways, not just through full facades.”
Editor’s Note: Associate Editor Wesley Jenkins is a member of Beta Theta Pi. He was not involved in the writing or editing of this piece.