Senior history major Jon DiGiorgio was talking to the house mother of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, over a cup of coffee one morning when he got the idea for a combined light show and holiday toy drive event.
Now, after collecting light donations for half of the semester, as well as putting them up for more than a month, DiGiorgioâ€™s idea is set to come alive at the fraternity house Monday nightâ€”and several other nights throughout Decemberâ€”with a shining array of holiday lights and a drive to benefit Larimer Countyâ€™s Toys for Tots program.
Despite this being the first event of its kind for the fraternity, Vice President of Communications Mitch Snow said he was confident in the membersâ€™ work so far.
â€œEvery donation helps, so all we can do is try to promote the event as much as possible and hope for the best,â€ Snow said in an email to the Collegian.
â€œWe welcome the entire Fort Collins community to join us in the event,â€ Snow added, saying he contacted media outlets north of Castle Rock and also sent personalized letters to President Tony Frank, new Athletic Director Jack Graham and head basketball coach Tim Miles.
The light show was test-run last Wednesday following the CSU Marching Bandâ€™s Parade of Lights preview at the University Center for the Arts. The community had a large amount of positive feedback, according to Snow.
â€œPeople thought it was really cool,â€ he said. â€œOne community member that I talked to said that he really appreciated the fact that not only are we doing this to benefit the community, but that we are inviting the community to join us in doing so.â€
Approximately 70 of Sigma Phi Epsilonâ€™s 89 members will be in attendance at each of the light shows.
â€œEveryone thinks itâ€™s awesome,â€ Snow said. â€œIt took a ton of dedication and participation from everyone to set it up, but when we saw the final product, it made it all worth it. I think once the actual event starts and we start to see donations coming in, the feeling will only become more rewarding.â€
Sigma Phi Epsilon works on other philanthropic projects, including a yearly bachelor auction. The project raised over $3,000 to benefit Catholic Charities Northern and the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Colorado.
The fraternity also plans to add another philanthropic project in the spring.
Collegian writer Kate Winkle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help?
Bring new or used toys to Sigma Phi Epsilonâ€™s first annual toy drive and holiday light show.
Where: Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity house, located at 121 E. Lake St.
When: 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 5, and 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17.