Gambling: It’s for the Children

Generally speaking, if there’s a fancy event on campus, it’s in the Langroise foyer and I’ll have done my best to be in attendance. Last night’s fancy event—Kappa Casino—happens to be an event that my sorority hosts. Kappa Casino is a fundraiser for our national philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental, and had local impact; the $1,600+ raised last night from poker buy-ins and raffle ticket sales will be used to buy books for kids at Lincoln and Van Buren Elementary.

But that’s just the end result of last night’s philanthropy event.

In reality, the work started months ago, and the preparations were going on right up to the minute the doors opened. Here’s a look at a few of the elements behind the event:

Thank yous: Next year’s Kappa Casino can’t start until the old one is put to bed—and that means a lot of handwritten thank-you cards. We get a lot of donations for our raffle prizes—they range from hotel stays in Boise to Wetzel’s Pretzels to Pendleton blankets to Disneyland tickets. And all those kind donors need to be thanked. We also need to thank everyone who attended—as the new PR chairman, I covered that one at about 11:30 p.m. last night via Facebook. But we’ll also send special thank-yous to the groups at the College, usually other Greek organizations that attended as a unit. So the immediate aftermath of Kappa Casino is a lot of thank you cards.

Poker: You can’t run a casino night without dealers, so at our last chapter meeting, one member’s parents came to teach us poker-dealing 101. We have blackjack, roulette, and Texas hold’em at Kappa Casino, so we spent a while learning the rules, and then got in a little practice time right before the actual event.

PR: Another essential part of Kappa Casino is actually having people show up. That means advertising, and a lot of it. And at C of I, advertising means three things: flyers, emails, and Facebook. Campus buildings got a plastering of flyers, and each campus mailbox got a small leaflet with details and a list of raffle prizes. The same info went out via campus-wide email. 400+ people were invited to the Facebook event, and then updates and reminders were posted up to the last minute.

Raffle Prizes and Tickets: I don’t know exactly how early the Philanthropy Chairman starts contacting businesses to ask for donations, but I’m guessing that it’s at least nine months prior to the event. The range of businesses that donate astounds me—hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, grocery stores, even a real casino. But once all those prizes have been secured, the Philanthropy Chairman packages them up into prize bundles, for example, “Overnight in Boise #3” which included an overnight stay at the Riverside Hotel, $50 to Proto’s Pizza, and tickets to the Idaho Steelheads. After the bundles are decided upon, we sell raffle tickets for the prize packages during the week leading up to the event, and at the event itself. That way people can put their tickets in for whatever prize looks best to them. The prizes are drawn during the last half hour of Kappa Casino, and brings the event to a close.

There are other tasks that go into a successful Kappa Casino—booking the food and location, set-up and tear-down, etc., but those are some of the big undertakings.

The very last step of Kappa Casino is making visits to the elementary schools and distributing books, which makes all the months of preparation pretty worth it.

Here's a quick Instagram video of the event.

From the Village,

Megan Mizuta

Megan is a junior Literature in English major from Boise, Idaho.