Photos by Lawrence Liu
Psi Upsilon’s 12th annual “Psi U Think You Can Dance” philanthropy included crowd surfing, gyrating hips and a whole lot of support for Conquer Paralysis Now.
Psi Upsilon’s annual dance competition took place in the Waves Café on Friday, Jan. 26 from 8 to 10 p.m. The event consisted of 12 choreographed dance performances from Greek groups and special performances by Dance in Flight and Step Team, with Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta winning overall. Pepperdine students and alumni attended the event to support Conquer Paralysis Now, a charitable organization started by Pepperdine Psi Upsilon alumnus Sam Schmidt to find a cure for paralysis.
“Conquer Paralysis Now means helping out people who have had an unfortunate tragedy in their lives and have a particular situation where they might feel isolated from society,” junior Psi Upsilon member Matthew Grindle said. “We are here to give them comfort, give them help, to be their helping hand, and we enjoy doing that because, you know, we like giving them good spirits.”
Conquer Paralysis Now “funds scientific research, medical treatment, rehabilitation and technological advances that lead us toward a cure — whether through positive advances or failures that help guide the next effort,” according to the website.
This year, the competition to win was fierce, with groups making last-minute donations. Groups pledged amounts, but those pledges have yet to be followed through. Junior Psi Upsilon member Jack Dussik said, “Two groups donated $3,000 each last minute. We don’t know yet because we are still waiting on a few payments from people. Considering people said they would pay us thousands, we need to make sure they make the payments before we publish it.”
For the fraternity dance performances, Alpha Tau Omega placed first, Sigma Phi Epsilon was second and Sigma Chi placed third. For sororities, Delta Gamma came in first, Kappa Alpha Theta was second and Pi Beta Phi was third. Overall, Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta won the philanthropy as a result of their contributions by bidding on auction items and donations, participation and T-shirt and ticket sales.
Grindle said that he believes there is so much support for “Psi U Think You Can Dance” because the event is unique.
“The dance competition on campus is completely just amazing for a philanthropy event because it’s not a sports competition,” Grindle said. “It’s just a dance competition, and everyone can dance and have a good time.”
The crowd was filled with Greek groups, non-affiliated students and alumni. People donned posters and Greek apparel to support their Greek organizations and friends in an effort to win the competition by impressing the judges.
This year, the competition took place in the Waves Cafe, but in the past it has been in Mullin Town Square.
“It’s funny because it almost alternates every year or so,” Grindle said. “Last year it wasn’t in the Cafe, it was outside. And it’s definitely a different dynamic for both.”
The Cafe was filled, and had transformed into a dance competition with a DJ, lights and a stage.
“Inside, you know, it will be more crowded, and the dynamic will be more intense just because the room will feel filled, and the atmosphere will be incredible,” Grindle said. “So I’m particularly one for hosting it inside just because using that enclosed space to our benefit will create an environment like no other.”
Last year, Psi Upsilon raised $23,460 for Conquer Paralysis Now, but they hope to top that amount this year. The final amount has yet to be released, according to Jake Chesson, Psi Upsilon Philanthropy Chair.
“Because of you and others like you, we’ve invested $1.4 million in the past year to Conquer Paralysis Now. It’s because of you we’re able to conquer these goals and help people who are paralyzed,” Craig Williams, executive director of Conquer Paralysis Now told the crowd.
Pepperdine’s Psi Upsilon will continue to host their annual event next year in an effort to find a cure for paralysis.
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