Stepping it up: Divine Nine supports philanthropies through StompFest

By Piper Rutherford - April 9, 2024

While StompFest is recognized as a step-dancing competition, fraternities and sororities that belong to the Divine Nine use their platform on stage and their time in the spotlight to give back to their philanthropies.

Humble junior Makayla Williams, a member of the Zeta Phi Beta step committee, said the Z-HOPE program aims to help all people excel in life, regardless of their hardships. She said Zeta will donate its allotment of ticket revenue from StompFest to sickle cell anemia research.

“StompFest has been instrumental since beginning at Baylor in 2001 in not simply being a social event, but giving us students the chance to give back to our community,” Williams said. “That is why I think it is such a long-running event, because of its rich legacy of service.”

Similarly, Houston junior Kailynn Savage, a fellow member of the Zeta step committee, said she remembers seeing alumni of the sorority volunteering in her community throughout her childhood.

“I always saw Zetas everywhere, whether they were Zetas in my community who were reaching out to help others or giving money to those less fortunate when there was money to be given,” Savage said. “I quickly learned from a young age that Zetas never fail to put their best food forward, just like in step, and I have always wanted to be a part of something as special as this.”

Williams said having the chance to continue her passion for dance is an added bonus of participating in StompFest. Stepping is a form of dance that includes stomping and clapping in various rhythms.

“I have an extensive dance background,” Williams said. “Between dancing at bigger organizations and studios growing up, since I was 4 or 5 years old, as well as praise dancing at my church, stepping came natural to me.”

For those interested in seeing Williams and Savage stepping with their sisters on stage, along with the performances of other organizations, StompFest will be held on April 12 in Waco Hall. Doors will open at 6 p.m., and the show will start at 6:30 p.m. Students can secure their tickets on Baylor’s Campus Connect forum, and admission is free.

In the meantime, Williams said she encourages students to continue supporting them as a whole, beyond cheering them on from the audience at StompFest.

“Please come out and continue to support us,” Williams said. “Whether that includes our efforts to celebrate African American history and culture or doing our part to contribute to sickle cell research in the future.”