Alpha Phi Red Dress Gala raises women’s heart health awareness

Nicole Winkleman

More than 500 people filled the ballroom in the Student Center when the women of Alpha Phi hosted its 7th annual Red Dress Gala.

The event, which was designed to raise awareness of women’s heart health, featured several activities for the guests.

The doors of the event opened at 5:30 p.m., starting the event with a cocktail hour. Dinner was served at 6:30 p.m.

Dining Services catered the gala, and the food was “actually pretty good,” said Stephanie Tripi, junior advertising major.

After dinner, the attendees were encouraged to walk around and mingle with other guests. In attendance at the event were other sorority women, fraternity men and families of the Alpha Phi women. The time after dinner also allowed people to make bids on the items available for the silent auction.

The items available for the silent auction were donated by members of Alpha Phi and by their families. Items ranged from a Michael Kors watch to a basket full of relaxation items, including an Alpha Phi embroidered robe.

At 7:45 p.m. Elizabeth Heibertshausen, the vice president of marketing for Alpha Phi, introduced the entertainment for the night. Rick Smith Jr., a magician and illusionist, wowed the crowded ballroom with card tricks and other illusions

“I hold the Guinness World Record for throwing a playing card hardest and farthest,” Smith said. “I can throw a card 72 yards at 92 mph.”

After Smith’s performance, Alpha Phi had some help putting on a fashion show. The show was planned by Monica Newsome and Lauren Smith, both fashion majors.

The clothes for the fashion show were donated by bebe and Banana Republic. The show featured seven male and seven female models.

“We spent a lot of time planning. We had to contact retail stores willing to donate clothes to our cause,” Newsome said. “We made our own mix for the music and handpicked the Alpha Phi models and various Greek male models.”

Purchasing a ticket to the philanthropy event in advance was necessary. More than a week before the event, the 500 tickets for the event were already sold out.

The women of Alpha Phi said they were able to raise about $17,000.

“It is not 100 percent exact because we have donations still arriving in the mail, and we are still counting,” Tripi said. The money came from the ticket sales, silent auction bids, raffle tickets and monetary donations.

The gala benefitted programs that provide leadership and educational opportunities, educate women about the value of philanthropy and improve women’s heart health.

Contact Nicole Winkleman at [email protected].