Alpha Mu Chapter at University of Louisiana-Lafayette hosts its annual Chili Cook Off each fall. November 3, 2018 marked its sixth event.
Foundation Chair Miranda Himel said the idea sparked from the search for a big fall fundraiser. The chapter had always done a dodgeball tournament in the spring and was looking for something that would be of equal or greater success. In Louisiana, cook-offs are very popular. Since the event is held in November when it is a little cooler, chili was a good option. After its great success the first year, it became an annual event.
The success of this event depends on chapter and community engagement. Miranda said steps the chapter took this year to engage a larger portion of the Lafayette area include: appearances on local media platforms, creating exclusive sponsorship packages, and having each member sell 5 pre-sale tickets.
“The chapter must be excited and motivated with a realistic, yet challenging goal,” Miranda said. “We were able to invigorate our chapter by focusing on the cause of this event and our membership, Sigma Serves Children. Once it is refocused from a fundraiser to a duty as a Sigma woman, the chapter becomes humbled by the experience and works even harder to make the event successful.”
Hosting an event to the scale of Alpha Mu’s Chili Cook-Off requires community networking. Miranda said whether you are calling around for sponsors or teams, or being featured on a local news station, getting outsiders involved is what creates the experience and brings in the most money! Miranda also recommended having a high level of organization with clear goals and deadlines in order to host a successful event on this scale. She said this allows the chapter to plan and understand their goals.
Alpha Mu has raised over $35,000 from its sixth Annual Chili Cook-Off, with more donations still coming in from last-minute donors. The proceeds benefit the Tri Sigma Foundation, including March of Dimes and Robbie Page Memorial Fund, and the chapter’s local philanthropy, D.R.E.A.M.S. Foundation of Acadiana.