Campus fraternities go for corporate sponsorships

Greek communities are raising funds and building hype through drink sponsorships.

Joy Petersen

Corporate sponsorships from energy drink companies have enlisted fraternity members in the “Monster Army” to “party like a rock star.”

Fraternities, like Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Pi, have joined the promotions team for soft drink companies in hopes of adding to their own reserves or giving something away to boost their image.

Monster Energy drink has facilitated events for Sigma Pi, including a Halloween party named “Monster Mash.”

As official promoter of his fraternity, Sigma Pi member Troy Velie initiated the corporate affiliation.

In order to gain sponsorship, Velie sent a letter to the company explaining his organization and its associated events. Within months, a distributor contacted him to begin the fraternity’s sponsorship.

“We get a shipment every month, and then we use it at our events and promote it,” he said. “Obviously, we have the banners and the posters and stuff that they give us to give out, too.”

Sigma Pi President Will Wojcik said the fraternity receives 25 cases of Monster and $200 per month for its promotion of the product, but Monster requires feedback from them as well.

“Our end of the bargain is we have to write a half page every month describing what we’ve done in the past couple weeks to promote their product,” Wojcik said, “and we have to send in pictures.”

Wojcik said the sponsorship has benefited the fraternity monetarily and allows it to give free products at its parties.

“People like free stuff. So to be able to hand it out at our parties and not have to worry about paying for it is nice,” he said.

Rockstar Energy Drink, among other companies, hooked Alpha Tau Omega.

Last year, Tyler Kilbury, an Alpha Tau Omega member, used Rockstar sponsorship for a recruiting event.

The sponsor only required the fraternity to explain its event to ensure it was legitimate. In turn, the fraternity was required to take promotional pictures, Kilbury said.

“I had to take pictures at the event, and that preferably the pictures would contain both sexes – guys and girls,” he said, “showing people being excited about the energy drink.”

Though sponsorships have supported many events, they aren’t guaranteed.

Beta Kai Theta President Bhrunil Patel said he hoped the Coca-Cola Company would sponsor the fraternity’s organ donation awareness event because the company is already affiliated with the University. Unfortunately for Patel, the fraternity received no funding.

“I needed to get a backdrop and some lights, to kind of make it look like it’s a movie premiere, but our budget couldn’t handle that so that’s why I started calling Coke.”

Patel’s efforts, however, weren’t enough to gain sponsorship.

“It never ended up working. Some didn’t call me back,” he said. “Some couldn’t give the funds necessary.”

Phi Sigma Kappa member Gavin Brandt said energy drink distributors have approached his fraternity in the past, but he said he doesn’t see much benefit in them.

“I think it kind of takes away from it,” Brandt said. “A fraternity is supposed to be something of dignity and prestige and having a logo kind of seems to cheapen it.”