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Pledge class spends 24 hours outdoors to raise money for Roger’s House

Sabrina Nemis | Fulcrum Staff

Illustration by Mathias MacPhee

After 23 hours of sitting outside the Biosciences complex at the University of Ottawa, Dan Schmidt summed up his feelings about raising money for charity in mid-March Ottawa weather.

“We’re feeling really cold,” he said around 4 p.m.

His pledge brother, Shawn Li, added that the hardest part of the ordeal was “when everyone else just went home—when nobody was here.”

The Phi pledge class of Omega Theta Alpha spent 24 hours outside on a bench March 14–15 to raise money for Roger’s House.

Roger’s House provides support and care for children and their families facing life-limiting illnesses at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Schmidt, a fifth-year communications student and member of the pledge class, said his fraternity does this every semester to raise money for its home charity.
According to Schmidt, the pledges sometimes had a hard time toughing out the cold and bringing in donations throughout their sit.

“Because our pledge class is only three people and there has to be one of us at the bench at all times, if there’s just one of us here all we can do is yell from the bench and shake our money tin,” he said.

“A lot of people ignored us,” added Li, a second-year electrical engineering student and a Phi pledge class member.

The third pledge was first-year history student Jacob Smith.

Many students rushed to get to Campus bus station, through the underpass, trying to get out of the cold as quickly as possible. Some students, however, wouldn’t stop because of their assumptions about what Omega Theta Alpha was trying to do.

“We had one guy who was like, ‘It’s pretty low for a frat to pretend like they’re homeless,’” said Schmidt. “We’re not actually doing that. We did look homeless because we had these assorted blankets that were trying to keep us warm, although I couldn’t explain it to him because he’d already walked away.

“There are some people who will see Omega Theta Alpha and they’ll kind of just assume the stereotypes. We’re always going to get those, but usually the response has been pretty good.”

Omega Theta Alpha raised $296.25 for Roger’s House. Schmidt focused on the positive part of the experience: raising money to support a local charity with his pledge class.

“This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “That’s a big part of pledging. You do stuff like this that isn’t hazing, because hazing is bad—nobody does hazing. It’s giving money while doing something you wouldn’t normally do, like this. And it’s great bonding.”

Li agreed and added, “After this we’ll all be brothers.”