Alpha Omicron Pi serves community and spaghetti

Alpha Omicron Pi held their Annual Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for “IKUS” on Wednesday February 20th, 2019.  GVL / Emily Modloff

Alpha Omicron Pi held their Annual Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for “IKUS” on Wednesday February 20th, 2019.  GVL / Emily Modloff

Elyse Greenwood

The oldest Panhellenic chapter on Grand Valley State University’s campus hosted their oldest annual event on Wednesday, Feb. 20 to support their local charity. 

Since 2006, Alpha Omicron Pi has hosted its annual Spaghetti Dinner to raise money for IKUS Life Enrichment Services. The sisters come together to string lights, lay tablecloths and cook spaghetti in preparation for this famous event. In addition to spaghetti, meatballs and salad, the chapter orders Olive Garden bread sticks every year by popular demand to serve guests and make the experience even more memorable. 

Last year, the Spaghetti Dinner raised $5,000 for the local philanthropy, which amped up this year’s goal to $6,000. Despite the obvious success of this event, there are more reasons that Alpha Omicron Pi chooses to keep this tradition alive. 

“We decide to do the Spaghetti Dinner every year because it is so well-known and sets us apart from others,” said Alpha Omicron Pi’s Vice President of Philanthropy Kiley Sheedy. “We love the theme behind it. By doing the Spaghetti Dinner, it keeps us rooted to all of our past sisters.” 

The local philanthropy that the event funds, IKUS Life Enrichment Services, is a camp for individuals of all ages with disabilities to learn new skills, experience independence and have fun in a safe environment. The camp serves a wide variety of disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and spina bifida. In the past, the money Alpha Omicron Pi raised through the Spaghetti Dinner helped the organization buy a chair lift for campers, pay for campers’ tuition and supply other materials necessary for camp. 

“My favorite part of the Spaghetti Dinner is the fact that we get to go to IKUS, the philanthropy, and see it in action,” said Alpha Omicron Pi member Hannah Gallon. 

“I volunteered there two years ago, and I got to see the pool that we fundraised enough money to put in. Going there and being able to see that and how they use it to help their campers who come with disabilities, because some of them find swimming easier than walking, was so rewarding. Getting to see them exercise in that way was so awesome.” 

While the Spaghetti Dinner might be an old tradition, there are some new features that the chapter has added. Two years ago, Alpha Omicron Pi began to “spaghetti a sis” once an hour during the event. For a one-dollar donation, a sister would dump a plate of spaghetti on herself. 

“My favorite part of the event is that every hour a sister gets ‘spaghetti-d,’” Sheedy said. “It’s just really funny how it always turns out.” 

While this dinner undoubtedly supports a noble cause in the Allendale community, it also brings together the GVSU Greek community. Many of the guests were members of other sororities and fraternities on campus.

“I’m here because I love supporting my fellow Panhellenic sisters and their philanthropies,” said Phi Mu member Laura Miller. 

Gamma Phi Beta also came to support Alpha Omicron Pi and IKUS Life Enrichment Services. 

“We’re here to support AOΠ’s philanthropy. We’re neighbors, and we love the bread sticks,” said Gamma Phi Beta member Katrina Austriaco. 

Through the annual Spaghetti Dinner, Alpha Omicron Pi is bringing its own community together while bettering the surrounding community.