What do you get when you combine service-minded Chi Psis with a passion for basketball and a competitive drive? How about a 3-on-3 charity basketball tournament among all fraternities at the University of Wisconsin called Hoop for Health? That’s what Alpha Iota came up with earlier in the semester and it was a huge success.
“My buddy and I had this idea that we wanted to do an IFC-wide charity tournament during November,” says Alpha Iota’s Senior Philanthropy Chair, Ollie Parmekar, I ’24. “We put it all together to support the Face It Foundation, which helps bring awareness to men’s mental health issues.”
Each chapter on Wisconsin’s campus was allowed up to four teams with a minimum entry fee of $50. They also solicited live donations during the games, so Brothers, spectators, and friends could send Venmo tips. Whichever teams collected the most money during that live donation session would be named the top seed and could select the teams they played against.
“We got a trophy for the winners of the tournament and IFC helped us out by offering money for Brotherhood events and other incentives to the winning squad, too,” says Parmekar. “But it’s really about the philanthropy portion of the tournament.”
Speaking of, the men ended up raising $1,500! Parmekar thinks part of the reason it went so well is the general passion for service (and basketball) around campus.
“We originally tossed a few ideas out there,” he says. “We thought about soccer and dodgeball, too, but a lot of guys just resonated with a basketball tournament. It’s a popular sport around here, easy to organize in a 3-on-3 format, and just something we knew would go well.”
Raising money for the Face It Foundation was something Parmekar felt personally connected to.
“It’s such an important issue,” he says. “Some of my friends have been going through some stuff, and I don’t think the cause as a whole gets enough attention. It’s a good thing to rally behind.”
When Parmekar and the Iota EC announced the philanthropy project, he said he got more than 20 responses right away expressing interest in playing in the tournament.
“Our guys got really fired up,” he recalls. “Obviously, it’s fun to compete against other fraternities to see who is the best at basketball, but it was an overwhelming response for a service event.”
Parkmear says they also made a point to be as inclusive as possible for the event, so they reached out to all IFC fraternities and to their friends in multicultural fraternities outside of the IFC. He hopes their project – and their outreach – shows something else about Alpha Iota.
“We try to be a very open and welcoming Fraternity,” he says. “I think our efforts show a mutual respect for all organizations in that way.”
In the end, a team from Phi Delta Theta ended up winning the tournament, but the money raised for the Face It Foundation is what really stands out.