TKE fraternity smashes car for good cause

Ariel Themm, Staff Reporter

Have you ever wanted to vandalize a car, or maybe smash in a window or two?

The Oakland University chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon held a car smashing event in lot P-16 on Friday, Feb. 2 at Winterfest. All the cash donations were given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Danny Thomas, an American comedian, singer, actor, producer and founder of St. Jude’s, used to be a part of TKE and first began raising money for St. Jude’s in August 1978. Various chapters of TKE held events called “TKE Keg Rolls,” where the fraternities would roll kegs a certain distance to raise money. Public disapproval of the event eventually led to its permanent cancellation.

OU’s TKE chapter came up with the idea for holding a car smashing when the Center for Student Activities gave the group the P-16 lot. The event was one of several throughout the year to help achieve the chapter’s goal of raising $10,000 for St. Jude’s hospital this year.

“All of the money raised from this event will go directly to St. Jude,” Cameron Renny, a senior and the chairman of TKE’s Philanthropic Committee, said. “Families never receive a bill from St. Jude Children’s Hospital for housing, treatment, travel or food. The hospital costs $2.7 million a day to operate and they need as much help as possible. Also, starting in 2016, TKE committed $2.6 million by 2021 for a new proton therapy project and has currently raised over $1 million already.”

After signing a waiver and being given a pair of safety goggles and gloves for $1, students were given the ability to give the car one good hit with a provided sledgehammer. For $3, the students were allowed to hit it for 15 seconds, and for $5, they could smash for 30 seconds.

“We raise the money ourselves through our own events and our rep supplies us with materials, information and support for our activities,” Renny said.

The Winterfest BYOB Tailgate was also being offered in the same spot, as OU students prepare for a fun night of basketball, hot chocolate and other activities.

“The car smash as it is is a simple but fun thing to do before a basketball game,” Max Behl, a freshman and member of Student Philanthropy Committee, said. “We hope to get it to catch on, so that we can have this in future years as a staple of TKE on campus here.”

TKE was originally founded in January 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University. Over 275,000 men have been a part of this fraternity and TKE has about 244 active chapters across the nation. They never had any cause to exclude others from joining their fraternity, because they supported each other and saw the value in Greek life.

“Greek life, such as TKE, is worth joining because it truly transforms what college can be,” Behl said. ”The connections and friends I’ve made will without a doubt last a lifetime, and I know that I always have a support system of 50 guys behind me no matter what I need or when I need it. It means the world to me, and it means the world to all the brothers because that’s our bond. It’s deeper than just a frat—it’s a fraternity, and it’s lifelong.”