Having a ball for a good cause

It may be hard for students and faculty to miss a 72-inch multicolored beach ball rolling around campus this week, and that’s exactly what the members of the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity want.

The point of all the commotion: to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).Members of ZBT have been pushing the giant ball all over campus since Sunday, asking students and faculty members to either donate money directly or sign the ball.

Several companies in the Tampa Bay area have agreed to donate between $30 and $125 initially and 5 to 20 cents per signature.

“Right now we have well over a thousand (signatures),” event coordinator Walden Wagner said. “By the end of the week, I think we can get more than 5,000.”

“Get on the Ball” was an event originally organized by a Zeta Beta Tau chapter in Maryland. This is the first time the annual event has been performed by the USF chapter. The kickoff for the event was Sunday at 5 p.m. at Greek Village, and the Greek community was the first to sign the ball. All the proceeds are donated directly to the CMN.

The CMN is a not-for-profit organization that raises money for children’s hospitals throughout the country.

There are 170 CMN hospitals, all of which sponsor medical treatment, research and precautionary education for many types of illnesses.

“It’s all for the kids. We aren’t taking anything out of it, and we try to help all the kids that we can,” Wagner said.

Donating companies display their logos on the ball. The logos range in size based on the amount of the donation. A few of these companies are Cold Stone Creamery, Taco Bell, Beef O’ Brady’s and College Bulk Inc.

“We have between 15-20 sponsors, and we’re going for about $1,000 to $2,000 (from the signatures alone) to raise money for our philanthropy,” ZBT fraternity member Chris Miller said.

In addition to rolling the ball around campus for charity, the fraternity has shown a commitment to other charitable causes. ZBT has also organized and participated in several other charitable events, such as working at the Salvation Army soup kitchen, Walking for Leukemia and raising money for the homeless.

The early success of the “Get on the Ball” fund-raiser may lead fraternity members to participate in the event annually.

“ZBT loves the kids, and we will do this every year,” Wagner said. “We are really going out to reach others, make the cause known, get signatures and make people aware that there are kids out there in need of treatment. We are going to help give it to them.”