The University of Dallas recently finished the time-honored tradition of Charity Week — a time to have fun, goof off, get jailed and of course, raise money for charity. This year’s charities were the Low Birth Weight Development Center and the Wounded Warrior Project.
Juniors Dani Fregoso and Dominique Weisbruch were the co-chairs for Charity Week. Marissa Brown, the director of student activities, acted as the staff supervisor, working with the co-chairs and the junior class to make sure all the events ran smoothly.
Brown said: “I think each Charity Week has something special. Each year the junior class makes their own mark on the long standing tradition. One of my favorite parts of the week is seeing how each junior class’ personality and style become associated with these long-standing programs that I have been attending since I started my freshman year at UD in 2013.”
Fregoso said that she had heard about the Low Birth Weight Development Center from Dr. Elizabeth Heyne.
She said: “At that point I wasn’t in charge yet, but it inspired me to take initiative and maybe propose that, especially because the cause is really noble and what she does is amazing. They help mothers with premature babies sustain their babies, but also just mothers who are in need. They help take care of them and educate them.”
Last year, $30,000 was raised during Charity Week. The goal for this year was to overtake that mark by raising $32,500.
The event that brought in the most cash this year was not the Charity Auction, but the Charity Jail.
Fregoso said: “The jail brings in so much money. Almost every student gets jailed at least once and a lot of students bail themselves out, which is double — so it’s two dollars. And for a lot of classes, the professors are jailed, but then the professor in turn jails [the students]. So it adds up. We had so many dollars. We counted [about] $12,000 in [one] dollar [bills]. And it was hard to keep track.”
As co-chairs, Fregoso and Weisbruch were able to propose a new event for Charity Week, titled Mystery Match.
Fregoso said: “Originally, we posed the idea of having some sort of super low pressure matching event, where it’s kind of like a date. It was an event that we suggested for the sake of counter-culturing the dating culture at UD, that is so high pressure. So it’s just an event where you’re matched with someone, but it’s really low pressure. You shouldn’t be thinking I’m gonna meet the man of my dreams, but instead, this is an opportunity for me to grow on my social skills.”
The event was very successful, with over a hundred students registering.
Fregoso said: “We had to close it on Thursday morning, because we had 135 people sign up and there was a pretty even number of males and females. But they had to close it, because more people kept coming up and the Rat doesn’t have the capacity for that.”
A relatively unique addition to this year’s Charity Week was rain, but UD was able to have fun despite it.
Fregoso said: “Even though it didn’t not rain, it rained beautifully. The people received it so well. People started dancing in the rain, people in the jail started singing and there were people swing-dancing on the mall in the rain. Everyone was just making the best of it, and even though it was raining, that didn’t stop anyone from getting wet and having fun. So yeah, it was really beautiful.”
Brown said, “My favorite thing about UD is that circumstances that would normally deter other people — like horrendous weather — normally enhance the UD spirit.”
The events were successful and as always, the students participated enthusiastically.
Brown said: “I think that the junior class always rallies at the last possible moment. Every year I am a little concerned that we won’t have enough volunteers, but at the 11th hour they always seem to come through! I was also thrilled by the amount of freshmen we had partake in events like CHAOS & the Talent Show.”
Charity Week remains a staple of UD traditions and for good reason. It is an encapsulation of the UD spirit.
Fregoso said: “I want to thank the UD community for stepping up and donating. We are college students, and I know a lot of us don’t have money or a source of income. And regardless, we still were able to raise so much money. As Catholics, we are called to give things that sometimes we don’t even have. And that definitely involves giving money, which I found the UD community totally stepped up in and really exemplified what it means to have charity and to be generous. We’re taught to cultivate virtue and I think that’s what we’ve really done this past Charity Week.”