ZBT shuttles students to airport, raises money for Las Vegas shooting victims
Washington University’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity chapter drove students to and from the airport over fall break in an effort to raise money for a family whose father died in the recent Las Vegas shooting.
Daniel Pang, a sophomore Las Vegas native and member of ZBT, started the fundraiser in conjunction with ZBT president and junior Perry Gordon after learning that his 15-year-old family friend Ayzayah Hatfield had lost his father, Charles, in the shooting.
The Las Vegas shooting is the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Gunman Stephen Paddock fired on a crowd of over 22,000 people at a country music festival, killing 58 people—Charles Hatfield among them—and wounding over 1,000 others.
Hatfield, a 34-year-old police officer and military veteran, had gone to rescue people on the night of the shooting even though he was off duty. He leaves behind a wife and two children.
Following the shooting, ZBT brothers, including Gordon, reached out to Pang to make sure that he was OK. It was then proposed that the fraternity fundraise to help the Hatfield family.
Knowing that students needed rides to and from St. Louis’s Lambert International Airport for fall break, Pang suggested that the fraternity provide transportation as a fundraising effort. ZBT received 150 requests for rides, and the members were able to accommodate 125 of them. The fraternity charged $15 for rides—plus a small fee for additional passengers—and plans to donate all of the proceeds to Ayzayah and his family.
So far, the fraternity has raised $2,205.33, making the fundraiser their largest and most successful to date.
Gordon noted that because tragedies such as mass shootings make news commonly, many have become desensitized to such issues. However, ZBT’s fundraiser had a major impact on his life and on the lives of many other Washington University students.
“It’s getting very numb,” Gordon said. “People were encouraged and wanting to help instead of just sitting by their computers and tweeting.”
Gordon said that he was empowered by the outpouring of support from Washington University students, some of whom cancelled prior transportation plans to ride with ZBT and give money to the cause.
Pang, who discussed the shooting and his family friend’s story with students while driving them to the airport, described how the fundraiser connected the Washington University community to that of Las Vegas.
“It definitely opens up an opportunity for people to get directly involved,” Pang said.