March 28, 2012

A Night to Remember: Beta Mu Chapter's Red Dress Gala

Every year, February rolls around and brings one of the most anticipated events in every Alabama Alpha Phi’s social calendar. And I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day. Instead, I’m talking about Beta Mu chapter’s Red Dress Gala. Sure, Valentine’s Day and Red Dress Galas have some similarities: radiant red, lots of hearts and spending time with people you care about. But as Alpha Phis, we know how to take all three components and turn it into something much more—a cause worth living for.

Beta Mu’s Red Dress Gala is a charity auction that benefits the Alpha Phi Foundation. Alpha Phi Foundation raises and awards funds for programs that advance leadership development, encourage academic excellence, support sisters in need, educate about the value of philanthropy, and improve women’s heart health. While the Foundation was officially established in 1956, women’s heart disease – the #1 killer of women – was chosen as Alpha Phi’s international philanthropic priority in 1946, ten years earlier.

For Alabama’s 2012 Gala, we went all out to help raise awareness and funds for the Foundation. On February 25, more than 450 guests arrived at the gorgeous Jemison-Van De Graaff Mansion in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I attended the event with my dad, godmother Julie (a fellow Alpha Phi) and one of my sisters and best friends, Kaitlyn. When we all arrived, the party was in full swing! DJ Lo from 94.1 ZBQ was playing the latest hits in one of the outdoor tents, and in another tent the Ultimate Sound was playing some of our favorite oldies and classics for everyone to dance to.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was the wonderful buffet of food. The spread included chicken and petite sandwiches as well as my personal favorite, the bite-sized cupcake. When I saw one of the caterers from A Cutting Edge Catering pass by with a tray of mini-chocolate cupcakes, I immediately stopped her. We bonded over our shared sweet tooth, which was easily satisfied with a few of the delicious treats. Dark chocolate is heart healthy after all!

The main event of the evening was the auction. We had both a silent and a live auction. I remember going through the silent auction room with some of my sisters just wanting to bid on every single basket. Later in the evening, the live auction started. Some of the best prizes included hotel stays or vacations to amazing locations. Collegiate member Aimee Lindamood was the Red Dress Gala chair, and with her dedication, leadership and enthusiasm we were able to raise more than $35,000 for the Alpha Phi Foundation this year. We were thrilled to raise this much money for such a worthy cause, and hopefully next year we’ll be able to surpass it and raise more money than we could ever imagine!

Cate Cullen is a collegiate member at Beta Mu chapter (Alabama). Read her bio here.

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