With sunny weather, lots of excitement and many from Hofstra’s Greek life community in attendance, the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha held their annual Fireman’s Challenge on April 7 to raise money for the East Williston Fire Department and other non-profit and service organizations.
Participants started piling in to Hofstra’s intramural fields and registering for their team’s events early on Sunday, with the hopes of being crowned the winner of this year’s Fireman’s Challenge.
'“All the sororities come out and compete against one another, with the common goal being to raise money for the East Williston Fire Department," said Hofstra sophomore Anthony Aurigemma. "We set up a bunch of events on campus like an obstacle course, relay races and a bunch of other fun events. All the sororities get really into it all, and it provides everyone with some friendly competition for a good cause."
Aurigemma is currently the internal vice president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at Hofstra, and has been working for the past two months to organize the event.
The day-long fundraiser is comprised of four total events, all with points being rewarded based on sorority performance. In addition to the four outdoor events, teams are given two outside opportunities to earn more points. Teams are rewarded based on the total money they raise towards Fireman’s Challenge, as well as their attendance at a Narcan event held earlier on in the week.
This event was put on with the help of Pi Kappa Alpha and the East Williston Fire Department, as well as Dr. David Neubert. Narcan is the drug that reverses the effects of a potential opioid overdose. Dr. Neubert's course educated students and certified them on how to administer the Narcan in the event of an overdose, and points were rewarded for attendance.
The day got started with the first of four events, a relay race. Participants had to put on a full set of fireman’s gear, run to their team on the opposite side of the field, then take the gear off for the next member to put on. Next came the obstacle course, which featured a number a fire-related obstacles, such as a ladder climb to start the course, and a fire hose pull to end the course. The day concluded with “soak a pike,” for which teams had two minutes to throw water balloons at a brother, with scoring based off total hits, then ended with a tug of war tournament.
The day long competition came with lots of smiles and laughs, but the most important part of the event was to give back to an underappreciated organization. “The past three years we’ve done Fireman’s Challenge with the same fire department," Aurigemma said. "East Williston is a smaller fire department, so it’s harder for them to get the proper funding they need. We’ve been able to build a great connection with them through this. It means a lot that we’re able to help raise money for these guys, because they’re keeping our community safe."
Brothers work for months leading up to this event in order to help raise money alongside Aurigemma, who works tirelessly reaching out to local businesses to grow this fundraiser. Over the first three years of this event, about $21,000 has been raised for East Williston Fire Department, as well as other non-profit and service organizations.
In terms of moving forward, Aurigemma hopes to improve the largest student run philanthropy at Hofstra and only make the event better. “Possibly in the future," he said, "we could open this up to multiple organizations and fire departments, and overall expand on this as much as we can. Our main goal right now, however, is to build off each year’s event, and work to raise more money each year.”
With the help of the donations last spring, the East Williston Fire Department was able to purchase personal radios for each of its members. This year, the department plans to use the funding for new extrication equipment, known as the “Jaws of Life” to help cut victims out of cars in the case of a bad accident. The event next year will be held in the spring at the Hofstra intermural fields, with a date still to be determined.