Pre-Law Club and Alpha Sigma Tau host 1920’s prom fundraiser


Amelia Osadchuk

OU’s Pre-Law club collaborated with Alpha Sigma Tau sorority to host a 1920’s themed prom.

Oakland University’s Pre-Law club collaborated with Alpha Sigma Tau sorority to host a 1920’s themed prom on Friday, Nov. 19 in the ballrooms of the Oakland Center. The prom was open to any OU students and tickets were sold for $30 each, also serving as a fundraiser for HAVEN — a women’s shelter based in Pontiac, Michigan.

The event was put together by Sarah Smyth, vice president of Pre-Law club and philanthropy chair for Alpha Sigma Tau,  Matthew Yarrish, president of Pre-Law club, and several members of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and the Pre-Law club. Yarrish and Smyth decided on a prom fundraiser as a substitute for individuals who were not able to attend their high school prom.

“Matthew and I were discussing how, when we graduated, we were the last years to get prom because the last two COVID-19 years didn’t,” Smyth said. “We thought that, not only would this be helping HAVEN but a lot of people who missed out on their prom and really wanted to go now have an opportunity to go to one.”

Prom attendees dance the night away. (Amelia Osadchuk)

Tickets sold for the prom served as donations for HAVEN. The women’s shelter serves as Alpha Sigma Tau’s local philanthropy — an organization the sorority hopes to provide monetary donations for on the basis of one of the sorority’s core pillars: giving back to the community.

HAVEN aims to provide a safe space for women to get away from abusive situations and help them achieve their next steps. Smyth stated they serve as a “step between” — they help women find apartments and get them stocked, or offer space for them to live in the shelter. The shelter also allows women to bring their children and pets with them so, according to Smyth, they don’t feel like they are leaving anything behind.

Both Yarrish and Smyth are passionate about the cause and have hosted several events in the past aimed at providing donations for the shelter including Trunk-or-Treat, food and clothing drives, and Christmas wish lists for the children at the shelter. HAVEN offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals looking to support the cause.

“You can learn about how to support people going through these situations and [they offer] training on if your friend is going through an abusive situation — how to approach it, how to support them, how to get them out if they’re ready because you can’t until they are,” Smyth said. “They also have volunteer opportunities if you want to become a regular volunteer — you can help them stock the food pantry, become a child or life skills mentor or a first responder.”

Smyth hoped the prom would help spread awareness about the women’s shelter and spark involvement in the organization’s cause.

“I kind of want them to understand that HAVEN is a part of our community,” Smyth said. “I know a lot of people don’t know about it going in and they’re such an important pillar. They’re doing so much good work for all the kids in the area and they frequently pair with Neighborhood House — an organization for low-income families in the Oakland County area.”

Smyth also emphasized the event’s purpose of bringing people together for a night of dining, dancing and gambling, saying, “I also really just want people to be able to have fun. It’s supposed to be a fun event, you’re supposed to be there with your friends, laughing and chatting, losing all of your fake money while fake gambling.”

Smyth and Yarrish hope to inspire continual support for the organization by establishing a donation page for students wanting to contribute to the cause. For more information on HAVEN or for students looking to get involved with the organization, reach out to Smyth for volunteer opportunities. The Pre-Law club also hosts events catered to academics for students interested in pursuing law after graduation. Students can learn more about the club or request membership through their GrizzOrgs page.