Ever heard that great things come in small packages? Well, Tau Kappa Epsilon proved that big boxes can also mean great things when they held their annual TKE in a box this past Monday, October 8.
The fraternity TKE had their annual “TKE in a box” this past week to raise awareness for homelessness especially in the Keene area. Senior business major and president of TKE, Jason White, said, “We put on our yearly fundraiser called ‘TKE in a box.’ It’s a great way to get community service hours and filanciphy dollars and canned goods. Specifically for this event it’s One Hundred Nights and The Community Kitchen benefiting.” To show their support many brothers gathered at the box they built and some even slept inside of it over the course of the four days.
The TKE members build the box every year from scratch with the help of The Home Depot. Michael Patnode, senior economics major and treasurer of TKE said, “We have Home Depot that donates a bunch of supplies to build and construct the 16ft by 8ft by 8ft box to raise awareness for homelessness in Keene.” Rain and shine these members stuck through as much as they could. White said that the water had pooled up at the top and eventually started to leak in. “We did have to shut down roughly a day early due to the rain, but in terms of cash donations and can donations this was one of our better years.” Thankfully, the rain didn’t get in the way of spreading awareness and getting donations for the local community.
Senior criminal justice major and TKE new member educator, Chris Hamilton said that in the past they have had problems with getting donations from students and people walking by because they don’t have cash on them but they might have just found a solution. “This year we started something new where we’re accepting Venmo requests too… It makes it easier for people who don’t always carry their wallet on them or is on their way to class.” Patnode added, “A lot of college students don’t have cash on them, but Venmo is a big thing now.” The box is a very different idea that really helps grabs people’s attention leading them to find out more about their cause and maybe even donate hamilton explained.
“People are very interested in just seeing a huge box outside the students center. But people are like that’s actually really cool and then they come up and ask “what’s the box about?’” [and] “what’s the whole fundraiser about?’” Many student’s cannot imagine of sleeping inside of a box, which leads to an interesting question, “What is life like in the TKE box?”
Hamilton says that living in the box for the time being wasn’t as bad as most students walking by probably thought. “It’s strangely warm in there a lot warmer than outside. We have all of our homework, all of our clothes, and bedding in there. So it’s kind of like home.”
“We stay here all day we take shifts and turns with a bunch of guys that stay here overnight,” said Patnode. Hamilton said that who sleeps varies due to their class schedules and other responsibilities they have. On Monday night, they had eight or nine members sleeping in the box and throughout the week it fluctuate. Hamilton goes on to say, “It [sleeping in the box] is not required, but it is suggested that you spend one continuous night in it just because it brings us together it also kind of presents us a challenge.”
As a TKE tradition, it’s a way that they can all come together and take the time to help their community. Both Patnode and Hamilton said the new rushes see this event as a great experience and actually look forward to it. Patnode said, “They thought it was really cool. When I saw it happening and I learned about it when I was rushing it was one of the things that made me very interested in TKE.” Hamilton said, “It’s a very weirdly fun experience.”
Hamilton said that One Hundred Nights, The Community Kitchen, other organizations and all of the people affected positively from this fundraiser really appreciate what TKE does for them. Hamilton goes on to say, “They love it. They really like that it’s a younger group of people trying to make a difference for a bigger group of people.” TKE has formed a relationship with these people and places and each year they cannot wait for the annual fundraisers. “They’re always very excited and are asking “When’s it starting?” “When’s it starting?”
Look for the big box next year and along the way look out for TKE’s other awareness fundraisers on campus!
Kiana Wright can be contacted