As senior human development and family studies major Kelsey Spady pressed her bright red lips to the postcard in her hand, she knew she was doing the right thing. Her part in Kisses For Troops would benefit American soldiers like her fiancÃ© Lane Brundage Jr., a marine currently stationed in Afghanistan.
For the price of a kiss, women like Spady in the CSU community were invited down to the Pi Beta Phi sorority house yesterday afternoon to participate in a nationally recognized philanthropy event.
And for the U.S. troops who benefit from the event, what they receive is, in their eyes, better than gold.
Attended by all of Pi Phi sorority members, as well as by other sorority girls on campus, Kisses For Troops was a success in the eyes of participants.
Despite the large Greek turnout, this event was not Greek exclusive. This meant students and community members from all walks of life dodged the snow and slush puddles to attend the event Wednesday evening.
This November marks the one-year anniversary of Brundageâ€™s entry into the U.S. Marine Corps, and because of this, the event hit home for Spady in a very personal way.
As president of Tri Delta, Spady said she became more aware of the needs of U.S. soldiers after her fiancÃ© joined the Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan approximately three and a half months ago.
After finding out about the event two weeks ago, Spady has been excited to attend Kisses for Troops.
â€œThey need these letters out there. It just makes them feel loved,â€ Spady said. â€œHe (Brundage) said these things are like gold out there.â€
According to Spady, whenever she sends care packages to Brundage, which typically include letters from Tri Delta members, the troops that serve with him line up and start trading snacks and cigarettes for letters.
â€œI feel like it will warm their hearts; like there is somebody looking out for them.â€ Pi Phi member and psychology major Nicolette Rice said.
By 6 p.m. the event had attracted about 300 guests, according to Jordan Goldman, Pi Phi vice president of philanthropy. And with the multiple postcards and lipsticks littering the several tables inside the Pi Phi house, Goldman was adamant that they would meet their goal of 1,000 kissed postcards.
Among those 300 guests was Natural Sciences sophomore Christina Spriggs. Like Spady, Spriggsâ€™ boyfriend enlisted in the military in May, which is why she, despite the fact that she is not a member of a sorority, came down to Pi Phi to participate.
â€œIâ€™m glad to see that people are giving back to the military even in the simplest ways,â€ Spriggs said.
For Spriggs the politics of war are not a factor in her support for American troops.
â€œThe soldiers didnâ€™t choose to go to war, so I think Americans need to support troops no matter what. I know from hearing from them that anything from home means the world,â€ Spriggs said.
Although this is the first year the sorority has participated in the event, Pi Phi jumped at the opportunity to host it at the request of Cosmopolitan magazine.
â€œItâ€™s so important to Pi Phi to host this event because itâ€™s relevant to a lot of girls who live in our house,â€ Goldman told the Collegian in an email. â€œMany girls have family in the armed forces, so this is helping them.â€
While the night offered participants free food, drinks and makeovers, many attendees concentrated more on their lip-locking charity than on the free perks.
â€œThe most exciting part is seeing the whole community come together to support the cause,â€ said senior hospitality management major and Pi Phi member Carly Chapple.
According to both Goldman and Pi Phiâ€™s President Jannette Lannen, this event is multifaceted and impacts many people.
â€œItâ€™s helping out our community, the United States, as well as the troops overseas,â€ Goldman said.
For Lannen, the event not only is a major philanthropic success, but it also gives Pi Phi a platform in which to present the sorority in a way that is more authentic to their mission.
â€œPi Beta Phi would like the CSU and Fort Collins community to understand that we are an intelligent and dedicated group of individuals, and that we host these events to better express our values,â€ Lannen said. â€œTo help others understand our care and dedication in assisting others in any way we can.â€
Collegian writer Sarah Fenton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.