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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Sold-out Songfest looks to top last year’s fundraising numbers

Songfest organizers hope to top the $150,000 raised in 2014 for charities with sold out shows Friday and Saturday.
The 37th annual Songfest, the Texas A&M chapter of Chi Omega’s annual philanthropy event, will feature 14 production dancing acts put on by 28 student organizations. The organizations that win at Songfest are awarded money toward their individual philanthropies. Money raised through the event also goes towards Chi Omega’s national and local philanthropies — Make a Wish Foundation and Still Creek Ranch.
“I would put Songfest on par with the Big Event,” Cynthia Olvera, assistant director of the Department of Student Activities, said.  “The money raised isn’t all going to one area. These philanthropies are all over the community, so the impact is felt in multiple places. When I gauge it based on impact they have on the community, I do believe Songfest stands out.”
A few changes have been implemented for this year’s Songfest, such as the use of the app HandBid to simplify the silent auction. The app will allow anyone from around the country to bid in the auction. The auction will began Monday and will close Saturday.
“Our silent auction raised about $30,000 of our total income last year, so we are hoping to reach an even wider audience by opening the bid online,” said Samantha Braun, Songfest Chair and communication senior.
Texas A&M’s Yell Leaders, who normally host the show, will not be able to attend Songfest this year, because they are travelling to Vanderbilt to support the football team. Students Brian Skulski, finance senior, and Caitlyn Moravits, communication junior, will host the show instead.
Planning for Songfest begins months in advance. In December, 10 Songfest team leaders began arranging venue, acts, publicity and sponsorship, among other things.
Choreography begins in August once two student organizations team up for each act. On average each team spends five to 10 hours a week practicing for the show. The monetary prizes that the top three places win go toward their organization’s philanthropy.
Former student and Chi Omega president Donna Kent suggested Songfest as an idea for an annual philanthropy in 1978.
“I’m very proud that our chapter from 1978 was able to design something that has continued through the years and developed into an event that people are eager to participate in, and that it has established so many avenues to give back to the community,” Kent said.
In 1978 Songfest had to be held off campus at Bryan Civic Auditorium, since sororities and fraternities were not yet recognized as student organizations and were not permitted to use campus facilities. The $1,250 that was raised at the first Songfest went to St. Joseph’s hospital.
“When we started Songfest we were raising money for our organization to survive, and to raise money for local Bryan-College Station entities,” Kent said. “I think that it was just huge when each act began receiving money to contribute to their favorite philanthropy.”
Braun said Songfest participants are excited to give back to the community again this year.
“The heart behind Songfest is to make a huge impact on our community,” Braun said. “ We feel really blessed to have been able to do this for 37 years and to make such a wide impact.”

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