Alpha Pi’s philanthropy efforts hit close to home

DECEMBER 2, 2021

Photo via @chipsifraternity/Instagram

When discussing what to do for their fall philanthropy, the men of Alpha Pi [Chi Psi at Union College] threw all sorts of ideas around. When it came down to which organization they wanted to back, it was an easy choice: the MSA Coalition.

#1 Henry Kahl’s, Π ’22, father was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) this summer. MSA is a rare neurodegenerative disorder.

So, the men went to work in creating a 3-point shooting contest – with both a men’s and women’s bracket – at Union College. The Philanthropy Committee, chaired by Jack DiNanno, Π ’22, and Jack Wiley, Π ’22, organized the event.

“To participate, we asked for a $10 entrance fee, but we also did as much independent fundraising as possible,” says Kahl. “We raised nearly $2,500 just from the independent fundraising, and we’re hoping to raise even more with the tournaments.”

Alpha Pi originally was aiming for $1,000 total, and are now upping that number to $5,000, since they’re well past the first target level.

“Friendly competition is something people enjoy and will buy into for a good cause,” says Kahl. “All our philanthropic events around athletic activities have been extremely successful, so we wanted to continue that momentum.”

The event took place in mid-November with high participation, including mandated participation for the men of Pi.

About 75 people turned out for the event, and the Alpha’s total has now eclipsed the $3,000 mark. They will continue to fundraise for the MSA Coalition throughout the fall semester.

It turned into a hybrid philanthropy and Brotherhood event because of the mandated participation, and Kahl says that the excitement among those who took part was palpable.

“People were pumped to be a part of this,” he says. “There was definitely a shared sense of excitement and gratitude to be contributing to something they know matters a lot. Especially that matters to one of their own friends.”

On that note, Kahl says, he was honored and blown away to have the Alpha back the MSA Coalition, given his dad’s diagnosis.

“Philanthropy is best done when it is working toward a cause many people feel strongly about,” he says. “It made me feel great to know that, given the friendships I have with all these guys, that they were so keen on the idea of supporting the MSA Coalition. It kind of reassured me of the strengths of the relationships we build in Chi Psi.”

The Alpha was particularly focused on identifying a cause they could all relate to and felt strongly toward supporting. They also wanted to figure out how to best increase participation both among the Brothers of their own Alpha and the broader campus community. That led to the 3-point shootout and an excellent philanthropy event.

“We were trying to promote this larger participation across Greek Life at Union,” says Kahl. “We’re really an organization that’s committed to bettering our community, and I think that showed.”