Phi Alpha Delta bends rules of pong to promote awareness

Phi Alpha Delta fraternity hosted its first annual Root Beer Pong Tournament on Tuesday, Feb. 25. The tournament was held as an alcohol awareness program with prizes given to the first through fourth place teams.

The goal of the tournament was to promote responsible alcohol drinking habits.

“We looked to cater this program to the freshmen,” Jake Hrywniak, president of the fraternity, said. “That’s why we’re holding it in T/W”

“This gives people something to do,” Make Lavelle, new fraternity member, said. “Hang out without drinking.”

The event was planned with support from Joe Hadge, coordinator of the Alcohol and Drug Education Program (ADEP). ADEP pens and stress balls were handed out at the registration table. Hadge also provided the fraternity with posters to display with facts about alcohol and the dangers of over-consumption.

Many felt that informing students about alcohol abuse is important. Hadge said that freshmen in particular, who have just left home, need to be aware of the risks associated with alcohol.

“Especially because there has been so much alcohol poisoning in the (freshmen) dorms this year,” Jennifer Lopez, freshman law and justice major, said.

Phi Alpha Delta’s tournament was well-supported. Thrity-two teams participated in the event, and about 25 people came to watch. Ten root beer pong tables were set up with numerous games being played simultaneously. Rules for the game were posted on each table, but many said that they were very familiar with the game and did not need to review the rules.

Teams were able to sign up beforehand or at the door for a small fee. Lavelle said that the fraternity was not necessarily holding the event as a fundraiser. The money went towards the root beer and the prizes.

“We just want to give back to the community and have a good time,” Lavelle said.

The event was also held to publicize the fraternity as new member season begins.

“We’re just trying to get our name out,” Paul Riccioli, senior finance major and fraternity member, said. “We’re a pretty small organization.”

Currently, the fraternity only consists of 10 brothers, which makes it difficult for the organization to host many large events on campus.

“With some new members in the ranks, we are looking forward to putting on several events a year,” Hrywniak said.

Most of those in attendance stayed for the duration of the tournament to watch all of the games. Laughter and cheers of encouragement could be hard throughout the spacious room as students cheered each other on during the matches. The brothers, identified by their maroon and grey shirts, ran around refilling cups between games. The brothers went through 60 cans of root beer during the tournament. The event lasted nearly two hours.

“It’s fun, even though we lost,” Shannon Bradford, freshman elementary education and psychology major, said. “This shows you can play drinking games without alcohol and still have a good time,” Riccioli said.

The brothers agreed that the tournament was a success. Because of a lack of weeknight activities on campus, “we hoped this afforded some residents an opportunity to come out and enjoy themselves for a while,” Hrywniak said.

The first place team, junior Dave Ust and junior Alex Czeto, won a DVD player. The two decided to hold a final one-on-one match for possession of the DVD player, which was ultimately won by Ust.

The second place team, freshman Ted Tyburczy and freshman Rich Kropp received a $20 gift certificate to Mama Flora’s Italian Restaurant. The third place team, freshman Joe McKeever and freshman Mike Malatino, won a $20 gift certificate to IHOP. Fourth place team, senior Josh Cranz and sophomore Rob Cook, received a gift certificate for two free appetizers at The American Grill and Caf?.

Phi Alpha Delta plans to hold another tournament next spring.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back next year,” Cranz said as he received his prize.