Each spring, many of the Greek organizations on campus hold an annual formal dance. These formals are private events where fraternity or sorority members and their dates have a chance to dress up and dance. This year, the sorority Lambda Pi Chi took part in this tradition while adding their own twist.
Lambda Pi Chi teamed up with SISTUHS and “I Am That Girl” on Sat. March 25 to host “Night of Empowerment: Masquerade Ball” in the SCC Boardrooms. This event aimed to educate and bring awareness towards domestic violence, specifically rape and sexual assault. All the proceeds raised were donated to Sunrise of Pasco, which is a domestic and sexual violence center located in Dade City, Florida.
Anyone, regardless of affiliation, was invited to “Night of Empowerment: Masquerade Ball.” As a result, the venue was sprinkled with a diverse group of faculty, students, families, and locals. As these attendees filed in, there was appealing salad and dessert ready on the table along with raffle tickets available for purchase. The raffle tickets cost two dollars and enabled the purchaser to enter for a chance to win either a Bose speaker, a Kate Spade bag, a fifty-dollar gift card to Top Golf, or an assortment of fast food gift cards.
After attendees had settled into their seats, Lambda Pi Chi president Amanda Burgos welcomed the crowd and introduced the event. She explained that empowerment is, “the process of becoming stronger and more confident; especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s right,” and how it only fits that her organization, a women’s organization, established an event that would benefit the female and male perspective.
Following Burgos’s speech was a moving address given by keynote speaker Rosa Contreras, a director at Sunrise of Pasco. Contreras described her work and her personal experiences with victims of domestic violence. She pointed out that many cases of rape involve college students, and Sunrise of Pasco provides a training program for professors and student leaders in an attempt to change this fact.
The program was briefly interrupted for a buffet style dinner to be served. The buffet options were cucumber salad, ziti, chicken parmesan, green beans, and breadsticks.
After dinner, Erin Mykleby from the Athletics Department spoke about female empowerment in the sports industry. She reflected on the “Women in Sports Day” held by the Athletics Department and how the event aimed to educate and empower female athletes. She also admitted that sexual violence and assault is very prevalent in sports, and how the department is working to change that.
Later, Lambda Pi Chi vice president Tatyana Rodriguez read an original poem. Rodriquez’s impassioned poem recounted her personal encounter with sexual violence. She empowers herself by her perception of the attack.
“I look at myself as a survivor. Not as a person you need to feel sorry for,” said Rodriguez.
After Rodriguez’s poem, everyone was invited to get up and dance. Latin music boomed through the DJ’s speakers, and couples made their way to the dance floor. Throughout the dancing portion of the event, different organizations performed their stroll; a dance featuring members of a Greek organization standing in a single file line and performing identical movements.
By the end of the night, Lambda Pi Chi was able to raise 212 dollars for Sunrise of Pasco. In addition to the cash donations, the organization also collected 25 different donations of baby essentials (e.g., diapers, toys, and formula) during the event. The sorority hopes to make this ball the first of many annual Nights of Empowerment.