The month of February is typically dedicated to teddy bears, roses and chocolate valentines. For one University of Florida fraternity, however, the month was dedicated to bringing awareness and raising money for a cause much greater than paper hearts.
On February 24, the Mu chapter of Beta Chi Theta at UF hosted it’s annual “Beating Heart Disease” philanthropy week. Over seven days, the organization put on several events to raise awareness of and to help diagnose, cure and prevent heart disease.
“Essentially, the purpose of our BHD week is to raise as much money for the American Heart Association as possible so that we can help further research of different therapies for heart disease and spread awareness about living a healthier lifestyle,” said Anantharam Peesapati, 20-year-old service director of Beta Chi Theta. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
In 2009, Beta Chi Theta established cardiac health awareness and research fundraising as its national philanthropy. It was chosen because it is rampant among the South Asian population and the number one cause of death among both men and women in the United States.
On Feb. 16, the fraternity co-hosted a carnival with Alpha Phi Omega Service fraternity.
The carnival included attractions such as Krishna Lunch, wine glass painting, water pong and a kissing booth. Gator Karate, Belly Gators, Alpha Kappa Delta Phi and UF Beatboxing performed.
“My favorite part about the carnival was the date auction,” said Roshini Shanmugam, second-year engineering major at Santa Fe. “It’s great how much students are willing to to do in order to support such great causes.”
Aside from those events, the fraternity tabled in Turlington Plaza, passing out information about heart disease to students. The fraternity allowed students to sign a giant beach ball for awareness.
“Seeing all the events Beta Chi put together was wonderful,” said Snehitha Kethireddy, second-year nutrition major. “Their philanthropy week really stood out to me because of the emphasis they put on increasing knowledge about their cause, not solely raising money for it.”