Day drinking, 2000s one-hit-wonder performers and students running amok in West Campus are usually the images that the words “Round Up” conjure up — not community service.
But this year, through wristband sales and other fundraising events, the Interfraternity Council will be raising money for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, a leading support system for children diagnosed with cancer and their families. B+ was founded by a grieving father in memory of his son, whose blood type was B+ , with the hope of providing a source of strength for others. UT Greek organizations’ involvement, particularly through Round Up, fits into the organization’s motto: “Kids Helping Kids Fight Cancer.”
“It would be really easy for the students to just have a fun weekend,” Carly Bergstein, B+’s program director, said. “Instead, with IFC leading the charge and a bunch of the sororities getting on board too, UT has taken something with a lot of street-credibility and a lot of awareness around campus and paired it with the B+ Foundation.”
Last year, several Greek organizations took advantage of the momentum leading up to Round Up to launch a fundraising campaign for B+. Colton Becker, an honors in advanced nutritional sciences junior and IFC’s vice president of philanthropy, said he was motivated by the excitement around those efforts.
“It got kind of competitive, and it was a lot of fun, and combined we were able to raise about $96,000, so this year we asked, ‘Why not aim higher?’” Becker said.
Becker said last year’s successes were rooted in pride and altruism, but this year’s incentives have motivated even more enthusiasm for the work.
“The students that have taken the initiative and leadership in doing this have put greatness behind the fun, so when they’re going to all these parties, they are also helping children and their families along the way,” Bergstein said.
UT alumnus Maddie Goldfarb was involved with B+ as a student, and now works as their freelance program manager. Goldfarb, alongside her sorority, first welcomed B+ onto campus, and said she has since witnessed B+’s presence quickly extend to reach all of Greek life.
“The Round Up campaign has only been around for the past two years, but even before that we worked with individual groups who would put on fundraising events and that are involved with the B+ Heroes Program, where we match a local child and family with a childhood cancer diagnosis with an organization on campus as an emotional support,” Goldfarb said.
IFC’s B+ Hero is Karter Linscott, a 6-year-old boy with a love of dinosaurs and baseball, who Becker said has been a major inspiration for this week’s fundraising.
“(Karter) is a huge aspect of our organization and what we do, and we’re so happy to utilize Round Up as a way to promote this cause and to raise money for families like the Linscotts,” Becker said.
IFC has even extended its support of B+ during Round Up by directly involving their B+ Hero.
“The real culminating event of this campaign is on Sunday afternoon, when Karter is going to be surprised with the first pitch at the UT Baseball game,” Goldfarb said.
Both Becker and Goldfarb said B+ has a special place in UT Greek life’s heart that defies the stereotype of superficial partying.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how positive of an experience this has been for myself and the other members of IFC,” Becker said. “It really resonates with a lot of us, and we’re just so grateful to help raise awareness and funds to ensure B+ continues to change lives.”