‘Baldacious’ fundraiser at South Dakota State

By Ariana Schumacher, KELO

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO)– SDSU’s FarmHouse Fraternity will be hosting their “Totally Baldacious” event on Thursday to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Totally Baldacious is about a bunch of FarmHouse guys shaving their heads to raise money for a child in the area that has a type of cancer,” Daniel Williamson, Head of the FarmHouse Philanthropy Chair, said.

Typically, the event is held once a year, however with it being cancelled last spring, FarmHouse held it twice this school year; once in the fall semester and now.

This spring, their efforts will support Ella’s Warriors. Ella was diagnosed with Classical Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 14.

FarmHouse members and their families will put money down to have members shave their heads, along with a silent auction to benefit Ella’s Warriors.

“To have this event is really awesome,” Logan Tesch, President of FarmHouse, said. “Knowing that we didn’t get to do it last spring, and doing it twice this year, it has been great to have a lot of support of the house and the surrounding communities.”

With it being Greek Week on campus, members have a pretty busy schedule, Tesch said. But seeing everyone come together for the event and socialize is the best part of Totally Baldacious, he said.

Engagement with the community off-campus as college students and raising money is so important, Tesch said. It is great to see that it is not just FarmHouse supporting the cancer patient, he said, but also the city of Brookings and the South Dakota State University community.

Even with concerns about economic issues, FarmHouse was able to exceed their goal last fall, raising more than $12,000.

Denver Stage, a FarmHouse member helping with the event, said the goal this spring is to raise around $10,000.

“This past semester we had reached our largest money goal yet so we are hoping to keep that rolling and maybe even exceed that,” Stage said.

Williamson said the best part of Totally Baldacious is all the guys coming together.

“We really do enjoy doing Totally Baldacious in this house, once we finally get into it,” Williamson said. “People really do have a good time watching other guys get their heads shaved and getting their heads shaved as well.”

Williamson said as a house, Totally Baldacious is a good brotherhood activity.

“It’s so nice to be so selfless and to put out so much time and effort into going towards to help someone who needs it,” Stage said. “It’s really heartwarming to know how many guys come together and help this family.”

Nationally, FarmHouse Fraternities are one of the biggest philanthropic organizations, Tesch said.

“So, showing that a little small FarmHouse from South Dakota is able to have a lot of support and have a lot of guys come together to show that support for an individual and that selflessness to give that money towards the greater good of the cause,” Tesch said.

Most years, the family they are raising money for would be able to come to the event and have a big meal with FarmHouse members beforehand, Ethan Johnson, another member helping with the event, said. However, this year the family will not be attending the meal in-person due to COVID-19.

Last semester, they were able to Zoom with the family and get to know them better, which is something members enjoyed.

The number of members who end up shaving their heads varies from year to year, Johnson, said.

“We have had as many as 30 members shave their heads and as few as 15, but it’s an awesome experience to see members really putting their looks past something and really making a sacrifice to help out a family in the local community or in the greater South Dakota area,” Johnson said.

Williamson said the event gets very competitive between members in the house. He said the person who raised the most money last year was able to decide what color Williamson had to dye his hair.

“We have had a lot of people like put bids on bids to try to get people to shave their head that would really value their hair,” Williamson said.

Sometimes, Stage said, people go beyond shaving their heads and do other challenges with their hair, such as shaving a certain pattern into their hair and going some crazy hairstyles.

Last fall, Tesch raised over $1,000 himself, so he had “FH” shaved into the back of his head and dyed green. This year, he has set multiple challenges for himself; if he raises $500, he will shave a horseshoe shape in his facial hair and if he raises $1,000, he will have the guys in the house shave his legs and then wax them.

“So if we can get to that dollar amount, I might have some really really smooth legs,” Tesch said.

The event will be live-streamed on the FarmHouse Facebook page on Thursday starting at 7 p.m. The silent auction will also be hosted through their Facebook page.