ZBT gets on the ball for Children’s Hospital Boston

Brothers from the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity since Sunday have raised over $3,000 during their week−long charity event, Get on the Ball, by collecting donations online and rolling a six−foot ball around campus to collect signatures in order to raise awareness and support for Children’s Hospital Boston (CHB), the local affiliate of Children’s Miracle Network.

The brothers of ZBT after just one day of rolling the ball had already surpassed their fundraising goal of $2,000 in donations from the Tufts community and visitors, according to ZBT Vice President and Philanthropy Chair Mitch Mosk. As of yesterday morning, they had collected upwards of $3,000 in donations and 2,500 signatures on the ball, according to Mosk, a sophomore.

Some local businesses have pledged to donate between five and 10 cents for every signature on the ball, while others have donated gift cards or money, Mosk said.

ZBT chapters across the country participate in Get on the Ball to fundraise for Children’s Miracle Network, according to ZBT President Markus Willhite.

“It’s actually one of our national philanthropy events, so it’s a ZBT−wide event that we put on,” Willhite, a junior, said.

The Tufts chapter of ZBT last participated in Get on the Ball in the fall of 2008.

The philanthropic event is in line with the fraternity’s core values, according to Willhite.

“Two of the values that we emphasize greatly are service and charity,” Willhite said. “It’s very important for our brotherhood to give back and … to understand that we need to reach out and help each other … and those who are less fortunate than us.”

In addition to the actual rolling of the ball, the week’s activities involve three other events. The first of these took place this past Sunday and featured a speech from University President Anthony Monaco, a capella performances by the Beelzebubs and the Amalgamates, and presentations from Marc Laufer, a gynecologist at CHB, and from a ZBT alumnus from the University of Pennsylvania.

A second event last night at Hotung Cafe featured J.P. Licks ice cream and performances from several Tufts student groups.

The third and final event, “Get Off the Ball,” will be the culmination of their week−long raffle. Members of the Tufts community can buy one−dollar raffle tickets from any ZBT brother throughout the week in the hopes of winning a gift card to a sponsoring local business. Winners will be invited to the ZBT house on Sunday for brunch and to receive their prizes.

Get on the Ball has been met with an enthusiastic response from the Tufts community, according to Mosk.

“[The response] has been really positive from family members and friends,” Mosk said. “Everybody I’ve spoken to is interested in helping or at least getting involved in someway. The faculty love it.”

University President Anthony Monaco was the first person to sign the ball, according to Willhite.

Sponsors of Get on the Ball include local businesses such as Ann Marie’s Barbershop, Flatbread Company, The Book Shop, Mike’s Food & Spirits, Joshua Tree Bar and Grill, Eat at Jumbo’s and also Tufts Hillel, according to Mosk.

The current economic climate presented a challenge in attracting sponsors, according to Mosk.

“We experienced a lot of trouble this year getting businesses to donate,” Mosk said. “They’re very tight on money still, with the economy,”

The fraternity is working to forge connections with local businesses for future events, Willhite noted.

“It’s hard, it’s a recession.” Willhite said. “We did the best that we could. We’re building ties now so that in two years, that group of kids can go to the same people we did.”

The ball has attracted curious stares as brothers have rolled it through campus, according to Phil Hoffman, a ZBT brother.

“It’s been fun to participate in,” Hoffman, a sophomore, said. “People are always curious. We attract attention.”

ZBT will likely participate in Get on the Ball every two years, according to Willhite.

“We’re probably only going to do it every two years, as it’s a really big event and it’s a lot of work,” Willhite said. “It runs for an entire week. As a fraternity, it’s very exhausting to use all of your resources every year.”

Mosk urged other community members to sign the ball, highlighting the significant impact that each signature has.

“We’re healthy, but others of us aren’t, and it’s our responsibility as those who are healthy to give of our time and perhaps a couple cents or a couple dollars,” Mosk said. “Every cent pledged counts, and every person who supports this project can change the life of a sick child.”