Brothers raise cash at Cavaliers’ games
As members of the fraternity say, “LeBron James saved Sigma Tau Gamma.”
It sounds strange, but essentially it’s true.
Four years ago, the fraternity found itself roughly $15,000 in debt and comprised of only 16 members. That same year, the brothers started working at Cleveland Cavaliers games through ARAMARK, a company that provides food and other services at professional venues.
“We didn’t know what to expect when we first started,” said Vice President Nick Piazza. “I don’t think anyone expected it to work out the way it has.”
At least 10 brothers work at 25 games a season, and each brother makes $35 per night. All of the profits go toward fundraising for the fraternity, and it erased its debt in a little more than one basketball season.
“We love the Cavs, and we get to go to Cavs games for free and make money while doing it,” said Ryan Matthias, the fraternity’s fundraising chair who oversees the coordination between ARAMARK and Sigma Tau Gamma. “It plays a big financial part.”
The brothers take orders from fans sitting in the VIP section courtside, and bring them food and beverages throughout the games.
The fraternity makes anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 a season, which funds the fraternity’s houses, intramural sports and formals, and it allows members to pay lower dues.
“Every brother has to work eight games, and if you work all eight then your formal is paid for. That’s pretty much everyone’s motivation to work,” said Piazza, a senior geology major. “But they’re fun, so it’s not that hard.”
Matthias, a senior computer design and animation major, said if LeBron James didn’t play for the Cavaliers, he doesn’t think as many members would be employed, so he hopes James stays with the team.
Piazza agreed, but said he hopes they would keep their position with ARAMARK because they are well liked.
“We’re one of the hardest workers there, that’s why they keep us around and put us on the floor,” Piazza said. “I’ve learned that a little bit of work goes a long way.”
Matthias said working with ARAMARK has not only helped the fraternity financially, but has improved the members’ business skills and is a way for the guys to bond while having fun together and enjoying the Cavaliers from seats they’d “never be able to afford.”
“When you’re on the floor, you get to see a lot of the game because you’re walking past it, and after you deliver something you can stand and watch for a little, but you can’t just stand around doing nothing,” Piazza said.
While the pros outweigh the cons, Piazza said working at the games is a big-time commitment and sometimes conflicts with Sunday night chapter meetings. And even though one member had a very unlucky night, Piazza said going to the games is great for the fraternity.
“One brother last season … got tackled by (the Charlotte Bobcats’) Gerald Wallace when he was delivering drinks … on the floor. Wallace dove for a ball and took him out,” Matthias said. “On the same night, he got pushed over by a security guard, and he spilled beer all over Brady Quinn.”
Other members of the fraternity have had rewarding experiences with players on the team, such as a high-five from Delonte West. They have also delivered to celebrities like Usher, NBA Commissioner David Stern and various players from the Browns.
“I don’t think there’s really anyone in the fraternity who’s not a fan,” Piazza said. “It’s made me like the Cavs a lot more actually. The experience and being a part of it has definitely made me like them more.”
Sigma Tau Gamma is one of two fraternities at Kent State that works for ARAMARK and fundraises through employment.
In just four years, the fraternity has gone from paying for everything out of pocket to having more than enough to pay for all its needs. Because of its work with ARAMARK, the fraternity has grown both in size and camaraderie.
“We started out with 16 members when I rushed, and now we have 50,” Piazza said. “I think it does have a lot to do with our work with the Cavs. Just the different things we can do because of our work really draws people.”
Contact Greek life reporter Heather Thomas at