Sweet Relief for sweet kids

The University of Calgary Biology Students’ Association recently provided over $4,500 of "Sweet Relief" for the malnourished Alberta Children’s Hospital.

The Sweet Relief Charity Party, held on Sat., Jan. 26, featured local DJs and prize giveaways in the Den and Black Lounge. Proceeds from the event were donated to the hospital and a student bursary fund.

"It started about three years ago when the BSA decided to start a scholarship and we had the idea for a fundraiser that would also benefit the community off-campus," said Sweet Relief Co-Chair Robin Isaacs.

The party showcased headline DJs G.I. Jody, Aikon, Chris Kerr and Transit. Hoodies, T-shirts, ski hill lift tickets and a snowboard were given away by sponsors Freewheelin’, Phonics, and Echohouse.

"We kept getting kids coming on the stage saying, ‘I won, I won,’" said Sweet Relief Co-chair Dave Flanders. "We had to go through tickets by the fistfuls."

Flanders explained that profits from ticket and raffle sales will be shared between the hospital and the student bursary.

"We are splitting the money into a 70/30 ratio with the hospital taking the larger percentage," said Flanders. "The bursary does not work like most bursaries where marks determine priority. In many cases those that require the bursaries are not always going to have the top marks; with our fund, the money will go to those that need it most."

Flanders acknowledged the turnout was lower than expected.

"The weather might have had an effect on the turnout," he mused. "That night it was around minus 31 and that affected the off-campus crowd. We did have a lot of students and people from residence, which is what we were after."

Flanders stressed the event’s importance from a student standpoint.

"Something like this is crucial to how these events are judged," he said. "In previous years we’ve had to label our event as a cabaret to avoid the problems with the name ‘rave.’ We’re trying to show that university students can create a positive environment and benefit the community."

Isaacs pointed out that the event proceeds were also lower due to the absence of a $2,000 donation that was provided for Sweet Relief last year.

Due to changes in the Den’s operating hours, the sets finished sooner than anticipated.

"It was such a shame," said Flanders. "We invite all these DJs for a certain time period and it is kind of rude to have the DJs just get cut off. Next time I would definitely get a concrete answer when the Den was going to close beforehand."

Despite the unexpected early closure, Flanders concluded the event was a success.

"It was the perfect number of people for both upstairs and downstairs," he said. "We transformed the Den and everything turned out so positive. My hope, next year, is that we can do this again in the Den or maybe the MacEwan Ballroom."

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