Greek life 'aces' fundraiser for respected alumnus
Fraternities and sororities united together while playing a co-ed volleyball tournament on Sunday, Feb. 24, to raise money and awareness for sick alumnus Ryan “VD” Fitzgerald, former president of Sigma Alpha Mu (Sammy).
Organized by members of the fraternity, Sunday’s philanthropic game took place in the Hofstra University Fitness Center to support Fitzgerald, who suffers from a degenerative liver disease and is in critical need of a transplant.
“We’re having fun and we’re raising money for a good thing,” said Matthew Breiman, a junior television major. “I came to play to help out Sammy because they’re asking us to help a good cause.”
The tournament raised money by charging an entry fee that all teams paid. Additionally, funds were raised through a GoFundMe page called “Operation Save VD, Funding for a Transplant,” that has a goal of raising $20,000.
Fitzgerald posted a video on his Instagram page asking for a donor and support during his time of need.
“Since I was 18, I found out I have this degenerative autoimmune disease that’s attacking my liver,” Fitzgerald said in the videos. “We kinda caught it too late and it’s causing me to need a liver transplant.”
The fraternity also used the event to encourage attendees to register as organ donors.
Stephan Hatchett, current Sammy president and a sophomore video, television and film major, helped to organize the tournament to support Fitzgerald and others in a similar position.
“We can keep raising money [for Fitzgerald] and donat[ing] to other people that need organ transplants because it’s a problem that not a lot of people think of,” Hatchett said.
Six teams comprised of 10 players each competed in double-elimination-style rounds to win the three-hour tournament.
Teams competed for bragging rights and an engraved trophy that awarded the winners “tabling clout,” according to senior journalism major Berkeley Stevens.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon won the tournament after playing against Sammy in the finals.
Sophomore physician assistant studies major Bailey Mahoney enjoyed playing matches alongside other fraternity and sorority members.
“[I liked] the Greek unity and the Hofstra campus coming together to support such a great cause,” Mahoney said.
Due to the large turnout, Sammy is considering making the event annual or having another in the coming semester.
“I honestly did not think it was going to get as much attention as it did, and I’m glad that everyone came out,” said Hatchett, who wishes to continue the fraternity’s philanthropic endeavors by having more events like this.
“It’s really rewarding knowing that I’m helping out my alumnus. He inspired me to become the president of our fraternity, so I’m really glad I could help him out.”