The temperatures may have dropped below zero last week, but the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity is blazing in the wake of its 10th annual Deep Freeze.
Each year the "Crows" camp in Sturges Quad for an around-the-clock fundraiser during which they bear the cold January winds from Monday until 4 p.m. on Friday. The brothers adopted the idea for Deep Freeze from other chapters of their national fraternity. "We have five national philanthropies," said current president of the Geneseo chapter, junior John Schlant. "We decided that the American Cancer Society would be our focus for the Deep Freeze [this year]."
To commemorate their 10th anniversary of fundraising, the Crows raised the bar and doubled last year's goal, hoping to collect $5,000. By the end of the week, the total was already at $3,700, a huge step toward the goal. A check bearing the fraternity's total raised funds for the semester will be given to the Relay for Life committee in April.
"Even before we got letters out and started our advertising this year people were asking when it was," said senior Jordan Garbarino, the fraternity's secretary. "People know it's coming at this point and they're usually ready to contribute."
If students don't know that the drive is coming up, though, they find out pretty quickly. By the middle of Deep Freeze week, some students who generally cut through Sturges Quad on their way to academic buildings miraculously find new routes to class. Some have already donated, some are freshman with meal plans and no cash and others are just avoiding the inevitable confrontation with a devoted brother. The brothers say these behaviors don't discourage their enthusiasm.
"I think sometimes we could tone it down with the cheering and such," Schlant said. "But I also think people know that what we do is arduous and they understand."
Senior Alex Wong, Deep Freeze chair, coordinated nightly events along with shifts for standing in the quad. "Everyone got three four-hour shifts and one overnight," he said. "When the week was done, everyone [had done] 24 hours."
While standing in the quad for 24 hours a day ensures no passerby will escape the request for donations, it also serves the greater purpose of drawing attention to the cause. The brothers have experienced a flood of generosity from the campus community.
"When you're walking back from a shift it's mind-blowing to think about how nice people can be. And that's every single day," said senior Steve Singley.
Appreciation for the brothers' cause came in the form of free food from Pizza Paul's, hot chocolate and donuts from the second-shift custodial staff and pounds of cooked pasta from Colleges Against Cancer.
Spending an entire week outside with your brothers is certainly one way to offset the sub-zero temperatures of January in western New York, but the power behind that idea increases tenfold when working together to raise money for a great cause.