Temple University Chemistry Society set its expectations higher than the nets for its charitable volleyball tournament on Friday, April 26, the proceeds from which will benefit TUTeach graduates in the Philadelphia community.
Members of TUCS said they were ecstatic about the turnout for the fundraiser, which they had been planning for the past two months. Each participant in the tournament paid $10 to be part of a team, which TUCS president Ashley Gilman said were comprised of about six to eight members. In total, there were 20 teams present at the tournament in Gym 145 of Pearson Hall, and 133 people registered to play.
“We were $130 away from raising $2,000 as of last night,” Gilman said. “We received another donation from the Student Center, and our concession stand has been [selling], so I’m pretty sure we may have raised [more than] $2,000 for the event.”
Gilman said all the money raised would be given to Temple alumni who are now science teachers in Philadelphia. Both recipients of the volleyball tournament’s proceeds completed the TUTeach program at the university, which allows them to graduate as science majors with a teaching certification.
One teacher, Gilman said, is already working in as a teacher in a North Philadelphia high school and reached out to Temple’s science department when she realized her class didn’t have necessary lab equipment. Her dilemma inspired TUCS to organize the volleyball tournament fundraiser.
“The money isn’t going toward our organization at all,” Gilman said.
All proceeds will be divided between the teacher who originally contacted Temple, and a rising senior TUTeach student who will teach in the Philadelphia area upon graduation.
The group spent two months planning, members of TUCS said. Flyers were distributed all throughout Main Campus, which attending player Raymond Gmitra, a senior biology major, said was how he and his friends found out about the event.
“We like volleyball, we all played [intramural sports] in high school,” Gmitra said. “And it’s a really good cause too. It’s a fun event, there [are] a lot of people here.”
Gmitra said he was the only science major on his team, which TUCS members said they had hoped for – that not only science majors would appreciate the cause.
Gilman’s friend from high school, Joe Mirarchi, offered to DJ the event after she posted on Facebook asking for any volunteers. Mirarchi, of Sound Solution Entertainment, also teaches math at Christo Rey Philadelphia High School. He said that education in underprivileged areas is his passion and that he would be happy to DJ the event, Gilman said. As the teams competed, Mirarchi set an energetic tone with upbeat music.
Education associate Christopher Zeigler from the American Chemical Society was present at the tournament to represent the national organization. He said that his office wants to support events like the volleyball fundraiser, and praised TUCS’ initiative and effort to bring a love of science to the community. ACS is also proud to partially sponsor TUCS’ involvement tutoring local children in science with a grant, he added.
“One of our mottos is ‘Chemistry for life,’” Zeigler said. “I think these guys are embodying that.”
TUCS members agreed that the most rewarding part of the night was when students from the class that will benefit from proceeds arrived to thank their organization for wanting to help. Vice President Sarah Carson described it as a very emotional moment.
“Honestly that is all I wanted,” Carson said. “Just to see these kids so happy that we are raising money for them. I’m just so happy for them.”
Spirits were high in the gym, and due to the efforts of TUCS, funds will soon be high in local classrooms as well.
Erin Edinger-Turoff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.