A variety of different groups came together Thursday night to eat, dance, learn and contribute to veterans in need.
Hinman College, Theta Chi, Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) and Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) co-hosted the event to fundraise for the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Performances by Binghamton Bhangra, Ballroom Dance Association and Hoop Troop led up to the main event, a presentation about the work performed by the organization.
Thursday’s event was organized by Hinman resident assistants Melanie McCullough and Peter Rodriguez. The $3 fee, which covered entrance costs and the Sodexo-catered food, raised $550, all of which will be donated to the WWP.
“We think this is a great cause that deserves more attention from everyone,” said McCullough, a senior majoring in English. “Veterans are present in every community, so many of the students here should be able to relate in some way to the Wounded Warrior Project, whether it is through someone they know personally or just through being exposed from the news.”
The WWP is a national nonprofit organization whose goal is to promote awareness and services for injured soldiers returning to the U.S. It focuses on four aspects: mind, body, economics and engagement. From treating post-traumatic stress disorder to adapting to prosthetic legs to reintegrating back into college or the workforce, the WWP focuses on transitioning soldiers as seamlessly as possible.
Different programs include TRACK, the first all-veteran education center in America, and the WWP Packs, which are sent to injured soldiers as they enter military trauma units.
“They don’t want to feel hindered, to feel held back,” Rodriguez said. “They want to feel like they’re resuming their role in society. You don’t have to support the war to support the soldiers.”
PIKE, Theta Chi and AEPhi provided fundraising and advertising assistance to the RAs. Joseph Pellegrino, PIKE’s philanthropy chair, said the event was especially pertinent to some fraternities on campus.
“It was a lot of little details to think about, like lights and food and tabling, but we wanted to do it because it’s for a good cause,” said Pellegrino, an undeclared sophomore. “We have a couple of brothers going into the army, so we thought it’d be a good event to co-sponsor.”
McCullough said the outside assistance is what helped make the event successful.
“We know that the performance groups will bring high energy and big crowds,” McCullough said. “Their execution in performance is unparalleled by any other dance organizations on campus.”
The audience consisted of fraternity brothers, veterans from the community and Hinman residents, many of whom were there not only to enjoy the show, but also to support the military.
“I had a great time, but I wanted to come tonight to support the troops,” said Sylvan Wilson, a junior majoring in biology. “I’m not a war person, but I do support our troops.”