June 13, 2024

This past Friday, the brothers of Beta Theta Pi hosted their first philanthropy event of the year; Animal House.

The event featured animals from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium including an alligator, an armadillo, a small fox and a small snow leopard. Students crowded around the tables, using two fingers to lightly touch scaly snake skin or to ask questions about the rolling armadillo.

“Animal House is always fun for us because it’s a philanthropy event that doesn’t just help our community,” said Austen Wallenfang, ‘21. “The keepers from the Columbus Zoo also help to educate us on where these animals came from.”

The event also gave students the opportunity to see animals up close and personal, something they might not normally get to do.

“We’ve been doing this for years, so they’re [The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium] more of a partnership now,” said Philanthropy chair, Evan Fetter, ‘20. The Beta’s even requested to have a snow leopard at the event and the Zoo obliged.

The event featured plenty of other, more domestic, animals too. Various local animal shelters brought dogs of all breeds and ages. While the students couldn’t exactly sit on the ground and play with the alligator from the zoo, the local shelter dogs were able to give students a nice start to their weekend and received enough belly rubs to last a lifetime.

Fetter arranged for local vendors, including a henna artist and a handmade jewelry vender and a Young’s Dairy food truck to attend the event. The ice cream was certainly a hit on the hot August afternoon. The Young’s Dairy employees even encouraged a student to break dance in return for free ice cream.

“The vendors are partnerships,” said Fetter. “We got them through connections in town. I work at Young’s and the henna artist was friends with one of the animal shelters.”

The Beta brothers also sold t-shirts at the event and are still currently selling them for $12 each.

But, perhaps the biggest hit of them all, was a small Corgi named Bagel. Bagel, an award winning frisbee show dog, surprised Wittenberg with a last minute appearance. The small dog yapped with excitement as he ran across Stoughton Lawn, catching colorful frisbees. Students stood in awe, phones and Snapchat at the ready while Bagel flipped around and performed countless tricks.

The owner of the flipping dog, Bob Ryan, was a Beta from Wright State when he was in school. Fetter met the man at the philanthropy event and found out that he works closely with the animal shelter.

“He came to the event specifically because of our efforts to fund raise for him,” said Fetter.

Combined, the event was able to raise over $1,500 and all the proceeds were donated to local Springfield animal shelters.

A swift fox lounges during Beta Theta Pi’s Animal House event. Photo by Dan Butera.

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