The clank of metal striking metal drowned out thumping music Friday as students bashed a car with sledgehammers in the yard of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.
This was no ordinary car. It was a sedan painted Spartan green and white. And every crash of the sledgehammer against its hood, doors and windows meant more money for new blue-light emergency phones.
At the end of the day, the Sparty car was mangled, but AEPi – along with two other fraternities and three sororities – had raised $300 for campus safety.
Event sponsors added $2,200 from T-shirt sales and another $800 from a fundraising bar night at Necto.
Last year, the fraternities used the Ohio State football rivalry in the same way to raise $1,800 in donations for Hurricane Katrina victims.
The fraternities and sororities are working with the Michigan Student Assembly and the Department of Public Safety to place the emergency phones, which provide a direct line to campus police, on University property near off-campus housing.
Brian Millman, an AEPi member and one of the event’s coordinators, said the Trotter Multicultural Center and Ginsberg Center would be ideal places to put emergency phones.
“Nearly everyday you hear about robberies of campus, and it’s about time people feel safe walking home,” Millman said. “In some schools there’s a blue light on every corner and you feel safer.”
Body by Bruce, a car body shop in Warren, donated the car and towed it to and from the AEPi house, which is at the corner of Hill and Church streets.
Each hit cost a dollar, and car-smashers could pay $5 for a minute of demolition. Some campus groups, including the varsity baseball team and the Society of Women Engineers, paid $50 for a half hour of hits.
“The baseball team started us off and just about destroyed the car,” said LSA sophomore Dillon Prefer, an AEPi member.
While two burly students wearing safety goggles smacked away at the car, Abby Berman, president of co-sponsoring sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, said hitting the car was “awesome.”
“I especially enjoyed smacking the ‘Beat MSU’ on the hood,” she said.