Author: Demi Duenes
The Kappa Alpha Psi (Kappa) fraternity hosted The Klimax, the first after-party for Apollo Night, Friday from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event was planned in cooperation with Black Student Alliance (BSA) for the conclusion of Black History Month.
Kappa is a predominantly Black fraternity, founded in 1911 as part of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The Occidental chapter began to plan the event because the BSA e-board felt overwhelmed with the many events they sponsored and programmed this year, according to Kappa Treasurer Keven Duran (senior). The organizations decided that BSA would run Apollo Night, Occidental’s annual talent showcase, and Kappa would run the after party.
Duran said the fraternity hosted the event for three reasons: to raise money for Kappa’s philanthropy effort, to help cover expenses to attend a national Kappa meeting in New Orleans and to provide students with a safe space to enjoy themselves.
Some of the dance’s fundraising will support Kappa’s national mentorship program, Kappa League, which was founded in 1969. According to Duran, Kappa League provides mentors, scholarships and other resources to inspire youth to pursue higher education. Twenty percent of those proceeds will go to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which aims to help Black young adults achieve their dreams of attending college.
There are currently 12 students in Occidental’s Kappa League, five of whom are high school seniors. Duran said Kappa hopes to award these five graduating seniors scholarships of $200 each with profits made from The Klimax.
Another portion of the money from the dance will go toward helping Occidental Kappa members attend the 82nd Grand Chapter Meeting of the fraternity in New Orleans this August. All other proceeds will be used for maintaining the Occidental chapter or for future on-campus programming.
In addition to fundraising, Duran said another goal of the event was to provide an inclusive, on-campus space in which students could have fun. An Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) general assembly held last semester addressed the issues of noise complaints and exclusivity that arose due to Occidental’s off-campus parties.
“The issue discussed at the ASOC forum was that the school needs to provide more avenues for us to dance and party,” Duran said. “The Klimax is a solution to these problems. It’s not an exclusive event, the music is provided and students get to stay on campus.”
Also addressed at the general assembly was the topic of appropriate and inappropriate music for campus events. Some staff members and students criticized BSA’s dance The Drop for playing music that they found offensive.
At the forum, Director of Student Life Tamara Himmelstein expressed her desire to eliminate music with potentially offensive terms from campus events. According to Himmelstein, she discussed these concerns with Kappa in the process of planning The Klimax. In the end, Duran said The Klimax was a charity event ultimately, and no school laws prohibit a specific type of music. The music at the event, courtesy of DJ Doneright, included rap, hip-hop and R&B.
Duran believed The Klimax, attended by over a quarter of the student body, was successful in hosting a fun and safe on-campus activity. It was also successful in raising money for the fraternity organization.
“It was a great night that took away the stress for my midterms,” Danica Gressel (first-year) said.
According to Duran, BSA will ultimately decide whether The Klimax will become an annual event.
“BSA thought it was a great success and we are extremely glad to see more cultural clubs and organizations put on events on campus,” BSA treasurer Marielle Peña Rosario (junior) said via email. “If the men of Kappa Alpha Psi are willing, it would be promising to have this event every year following Apollo Night.”
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