Alpha Tau Omega’s Disco is Dead? philanthropy event Friday night was the most successful in the event’s 21-year history.
The inclusion of a reputable DJ and the funds raised made it the best event the fraternity’s ever hosted.
This year’s dance broke records for both attendance and funds raised, with 530 guests and an estimated $6,000 accrued through ticket sales and merchandising. These stand in contrast to the previous records of 503 guests and $2,500, both of which were achieved in 2012.
“The band was great, and the DJ was awesome,” sophomore ATO member Ryan Lemp said. “It was the best one yet.”
This success was not the result of happenstance, but rather the product of a more collaborative and thorough planning process, said Kevin Huber, senior member and chair of the event committee.
Of the three years in which Huber has been involved with the fundraiser, the first two were more of a solitary endeavor. He was solely in charge of the planning, the brainstorming and the execution with relatively little assistance, he said.
This year, however, the fraternity delegated the responsibilities, thus resulting in Huber assuming a “more managerial role,” he said.
“We achieved a lot more because each committee member took ownership of what they were good at,” he said.
One such committee member was sophomore Layne Weber. Weber was responsible for acquiring one of the night’s chief selling points: DJ Epic Twelve.
Epic Twelve is a renowned DJ from Los Angeles who has performed private parties for celebrities such as Michael Jordan and Tony Hawk, and he is the youngest DJ to have residency at LA Radio.
“We wanted to make it the biggest we’ve thrown maybe ever at Belmont,” Weber said. “I knew I wanted the DJ, so I took the initiative.”
Before Epic Twelve took the stage, junior Belmont artist Cam Bryant and his backup band entertained the crowd with the event’s namesake disco music.
But as much of an asset as the music, lights and production may have been, none of it would have been possible without the behind-the-scenes players, Weber said.
“It had a lot to do with that aspect, but we also had to work with our ATO brothers. The pledges really came through and did an awesome job, and the Belmont community all helped make it such a great night,” he said.
All of the money raised by any ATO event goes to the organization’s designated philanthropy, Blood: Water Mission. It is an organization that seeks to create sustainable solutions to some of Africa’s most enduring problems, including clean water access and HIV/AIDS.
“Every $20 raised gives an adult in Africa clean water for life,” said Huber. “They’re not a Band-Aid on poverty or HIV/AIDS. It’s permanent change.”
Historically, Disco is Dead? started out as an event unique to Belmont, but, as a result of its growth, has become a model that chapters across the nation have followed.
And with this event in the record books, the fraternity already has its eyes set on raising the bar for next year. And it is nothing if not optimistic.
“This year was fantastic,” said Weber. “But next year is going to definitely be bigger and better.”
PHOTOS: Acacia Evans