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Third annual Puppies on the Porch event brings fun and philanthropy

Ruby Wallau/Daily
LSA junior Annie Robb plays with a puppy at the third annual Puppies on the Porch fundraising event. Buy this photo

By Stephanie Shenouda, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 4, 2014

Despite rainy weather that forced the third annual Puppies on the Porch event indoors, spirits were high at the Sigma Chi fraternity house on Friday afternoon. In partnership with the Pi Beta Phi women’s fraternity, the philanthropy event was an "aww-inspiring" combination of wagging tails and happy humans.

For $5, participants had the opportunity to play with 10 puppies provided by the Lenawee Humane Society in Adrian, Mich. There was also a raffle, puppy chow and hot dogs available to raise additional money. Half of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Humane Society and the other half will benefit FirstBook — an organization that provides children in low-income areas with age appropriate books to foster a love of reading.

“We’re hoping to raise awareness for literacy which is Pi Phi’s philanthropy,” said LSA sophomore Leah Sobel, Pi Beta Phi philanthropy chair. “It’s not necessarily as well-known as breast cancer or something, but if kids can’t read by third grade, they’re probably never going to read, and we want to raise awareness because you wouldn’t necessarily know that without doing a lot of research.”

LSA sophomore Nick Reade, Sigma Chi president, said Puppies on the Porch is an important transition year and something that the two Greek institutions look forward to collaborating on each year. This year's event raised approximately $6,000.

“We’ve been giving our money to the animal shelter every year and we think it’s a great cause,” Reade said. “It’s nice for people to get to play with the puppies and they love being played with too, so really it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Around 400 tickets were pre-sold for the event. Reade said while the event was advertised through social media channels, word-of-mouth is the biggest draw for the event.

“I love this fundraiser because it sells itself; everyone loves playing with puppies, and especially when we have them out on the front lawn and everyone’s having fun, it’s like the best marketing ever,” Reade added.

LSA sophomore Nathan Novaria said he wanted to support the organizations efforts because he also believes that philanthropy is an important part of Greek Life.

“I’m the philanthropy chair of Beta Theta Pi, so I try to go to as many events as possible just to show my support, because it’s such an important aspect of what we do,” Novaria said. “Obviously community service is really important around Ann Arbor, but it’s also important to look at larger foundations across the nation and sustaining them so they can continue to give back beyond our Ann Arbor bubble.”

Novaria added that the presence of puppies was also a major factor in his decision to attend, specifically because the weather was so dreary.

“I think it’s a really smart move bringing in puppies because who doesn’t love puppies?” he said. “It’s great that they’re able to do this because it’s a nice break for students and they can come and play with a puppy, while contributing to a great cause. I think it generates a lot of their interest aside from the fact that they’re both great organizations.”

LSA freshman Leslie Alter echoed Novaria’s sentiments, saying that she enjoyed the interactive aspect of the event, as opposed to simply donating money to a cause.

She added that she was thinking about “stealing” one of the small golden retriever puppies because it was her favorite from the day.

Correction appended: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Nick Reade and misstated his position and year. He is the Sigma Chi president and is a sophomore, not a junior.