By Irene Hsu
Sigma Nu and Kappa Kappa Gamma co-hosted the fifth annual Snowchella benefit concert on Feb. 1, raising more than $5,000 to assist HIV/AIDS charity Support for International Change (SIC).
This year’s concert featured performances by German electronic music duo Digitalism, student musician Wiley Webb ‘16 and eight-piece student band Paper Void. Over 1,000 students attended the event.
Snowchella’s SIC roots
Snowchella’s relationship with SIC—a Stanford-funded organization dedicated to promoting global health, especially in terms of HIV/AIDS issues in Tanzania—has been sustained since the inaugural concert in 2010, which was created by former Sigma Nu community chair Taylor Ray ‘10 after he spent two summers volunteering for SIC in Tanzania..
“I really wanted to make community service and philanthropy more accessible to a college audience,” Ray said. “There weren’t many ways of combining the worlds of doing good and having fun at Stanford then.”
The event’s growing stature as a campus tradition has led to a smoother planning process, larger budgets and attendance and more prominent performers, according to Snowchella Chair and Kappa member Hannah Welch ‘16 and Snowchella Producer and Sigma Nu President James Honsa ‘14. Welch and Honsa both noted, however, that the linkage between Snowchella and SIC—despite an announcement made at the concert’s start that noted that proceeds would go directly to SIC—has been somewhat overlooked.
“The fundraising element is still disconnected from the concert element,” Honsa said. “It’s the final piece of the puzzle that we haven’t been able to fit in.”
Vita Salvioni Guttmann ‘17, an event attendee, had no idea that Snowchella was held to benefit SIC, instead viewing it as more of a typical fraternity party.
“[Snowchella] definitely exceeded my expectations,” Salvioni Guttmann said. “I thought it would have a more fratty vibe than it actually had, and it was nice that the importance was more on the music than on the grinding. I also liked the concert setting, how people have a direction and face the stage.”
The profits from the concert are still being counted, but Honsa said that they will definitely exceed $5,000, producing a similar result to recent years.
“Our main vision for Snowchella is making it the biggest music event of the winter quarter,” Honsa said. “We found a model that works for this vision, and the scale is the biggest we can go while still keeping it in [Sigma Nu’s] front lawn. Our biggest push is to find ways to expand the fundraising model.”
Funding for Snowchella totaled around $15,000, sourced principally from Sigma Nu and Kappa as well as from grants from the ASSU, Stanford Concert Network and the Office of Alcohol Education. Sigma Nu and Kappa worked closely with the latter two organizations to put on the event.
The proceeds that go to SIC come mainly from donations from Kappa and Sigma Nu members as well as their friends and families. During the concert, sorority and fraternity members also sold T-shirts and ice cream sandwiches from Cream, which agreed to donate 20 percent of the profits to the cause.
This year also marked the discontinuation of previous fundraising efforts, such as the inclusion of food trucks at the event and the implementation of text-to-donate campaigns. In the future, however, Welch and other organizers said they would consider putting up a screen at the event that displays the text donations live.
“Snowchella is about raising money and awareness for a great organization,” Ray said. “It’s important to secure a baseline amount for the fundraising upfront, but we must never lose sight of the fact that it’s about so much more—about building awareness, about recruiting really great and energetic volunteers.”
Contact Irene Hsu at ihsu5595 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.