The brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity will host their annual “Shrimpfest” philanthropy day party Saturday.
This year’s event, however, isn’t for Pike alone — a group of five project management students teamed up with the fraternity, and Saturday’s event will serve as the pinnacle of their fundraising project for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Jaywin Malhi, project management student and the Student Body Vice President, said that selecting the MJFF as their focus charity was inspired by one of their fellow teammates, Andrew Pinkowitz.
“Andrew told us his father’s story and we were all inspired to help an organization like The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research,” Malhi said.
“The MJFF has one of the highest percentages of donations that go directly to finding a cure to the disease — 89 cents on the dollar.”
From then on out, the group — which also includes Frederico Canavati, Eugenio Zubieta and Elisa Farrell — has spent the rest of the semester planning for the fundraising event and executing all the necessary steps to make Saturday a success.
The group teamed up with Pike after Canavati, Pike’s social chair, pitched the idea of merging together for the fundraising to his executive board.
“Pike has covered all of the costs of the event — the unlimited shrimp, the drinks, the live band and the costs of renting out Barley House which have been close to $5,000,” Malhi explained.
The new discount textbook company Textbooks Please was also a large supply donor for the event.
After Saturday, the group expects to have fully met their fundraising goal for the project.
For Pinkowitz, the upcoming Shrimpfest is one of many tributes to supporting his father as he fights the disease.
“Over the past two years, I decided to start training for long-distance running,” Pinkowitz said. “I worked my way up from a 5K to my first marathon, and have been fundraising for The Michael J. Fox Foundation in honor of my dad and in hopes of funding research to one day find a cure for the disease.”
It’s fundraising for an organization that is, according to Pinkowitz, “incredibly efficient with its finances” and led by a strong, passionate group of people who are dedicated to “eradicating Parkinson’s for good.”
“With both my family’s involvement and Parkinson’s and the organization’s long-proven success, I decided to pitch the organization to our project management class,” Pinkowitz said. “[I] was incredibly fortunate to have such a talented group of classmates working with me to raise money for an incredible cause.”
The project, besides raising a significant amount for The MJFF’s research, has also provided the students with some of the most beneficial skills one would want to graduate college having learned.
Most notably is one of teamwork — no matter if the team is comprised of family or strangers.
“I think this is a great example of students from diverse background[s] coming together to fight for a common cause,” Malhi said.
He and his colleagues were relative strangers when the project first started, and learning to work with new and different people has been one of the most practical skills learned thus far.
“During a period on our campus in which we seek to foster a sense of community, I think the best way to do so is by shedding our differences and focusing on our likenesses,” Malhi said.
“In this case, our similar desire to find a cure for this disease.”