By Addie Stuber
In the late morning hours of Nov. 5, booming echoes could be heard throughout campus. Unaware of their source, one might have mistaken them for construction static. However, it was the sound a sledgehammer makes when slammed against a car. Alpha Epsilon Phi patrolled the sidewalks nearby, encouraging students to trade money for a chance to take a swing at a dilapidated vehicle.
Every dent and nick made by participants represented a dollar donated to Chai Lifeline — a charity that finances children’s cancer research.
The “Destroy a Car Fundraiser” (DCF) concept was originally conceived by past Alpha Epsilon Phi members. Success following the first DCF inspired other chapters to replicate the idea. The College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi wanted to organize the event for quite some time. Nevertheless, a lack of resources inhibited the fraternity from executing the benefit until now.
Much planning was necessary. Hawk’s Towing in Trenton provided a junkyard car, as well as free towing services. Permits were required in order to allow the car on school grounds. Most importantly, safety provisions such gloves, caution tape and goggles needed to be secured.
Despite the long planning process, Alpha Epsilon Phi never doubted the venture’s worthwhile purpose. Out of all potential charities, Chai Lifeline was chosen for its diverse goals and Jewish foundation. Chai Lifeline seeks to target specific aspects associated with adolescent cancer. Their objectives center on hospital/home-based assistance for families of cancer patients and children suffering from the disease. Programs include counseling, support groups and educational aid. Chai Lifeline’s motto expresses their overarching intention — to “Fight Illness With Love.”
Students at the College seemed to unknowingly illustrate the charity’s motto. Some passed by the area without batting an eye. But, many did stop to pay the fee and flex an arm. The scene itself maintained an air of slap-stick aggression. Crowds quickly accumulated around the site, cheering when a partaker hit the mark or catcalling when a weak attempt failed to do damage. The act of tearing something down in order to build up a higher cause appealed to many.
“College is a very stressful time, especially since it is midterm season,” said senior philosophy major Ryan Gerber. “It could be considered a stress-reliever. Also, destructive behavior is prevalent everywhere — movies, TV. Consequentially, everyone always has these thoughts in the back of their mind. Often times, we wonder, ‘Wow, what would it be like to hit a car with a big hammer?’ ”
Most people’s curiosity has now been vanquished.
Junior Political Science major Alex Berger, Alpha Epsilon Phi member, was quick to elaborate on the deeper subtext of the caved-in doors and busted mirrors, beyond that of intrinsic deviance.
“I see us progressing towards a cure. I see a group stepping up with creative solutions to a pervasive problem. I see a community coming out to support a great cause,” he said.
Shortly after completing her turn, Robin Rubinstein, junior graphic design major said, “Honestly, I think this is a great way to earn money. It made me feel empowered. I got in six swings. I’d easily go for six more if I had another five dollars to give.”
Alpha Epsilon Phi was able to raise a total of $672, nearing their initial target profit of $1000.