PRSSA hosts gala to benefit Habitat for Humanity

Gatsby grandeur overtook the LaHaye Event Space to raise money for a local charity and give students an opportunity to swing-dance away end-of-semester stress.

Liberty’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter hosted a Great Gatsby-themed benefit gala Tuesday, April 14. PRSSA sold tickets to the event for $10 and raised $330 for Lynchburg Habitat for Humanity. A portion of the 222 tickets sold went back to PRSSA to allow the club to host future events.

“We (believe) it’s our duty as students who come here from all over the world to give back to people in the community,” Joshua Gordon, PRSSA vice president, said. “It’s a fundraiser for our organization as well. The proceeds will help us throw bigger and better events in the future for Liberty students.”

During the event, Habitat for Humanity set up a table covered with T-shirts and chocolate bars. Students could donate $1 to spin a wheel and win one of the prizes. Off to the side, attendees could try on props such as oversized glasses and hats to take photos in front of a golden, glittery backdrop. Robin Alexander Bistro catered hors d’oeuvres for the event, and a student jazz band, Round Jericho, played music for the first hour. Disk jockeys Bruce Gibson and Devon Smith took over the music for the rest of the night.

“We all love music of various styles and genres, including jazz and a subset of it, swing,” Robert Nanton, pianist for Round Jericho, said. “For this event, we were well-versed in the tradition of swing music and the influential musicians of that era. Our band just focused on having fun, and we surely did.”

The dance floor was spinning with men in suits and women draped with pearls and beaded dresses. Some couples in suspenders, flapper fringe and feathered headbands busted out quick swing steps and aerial moves.

“(We) had a blast promoting Habitat for Humanity and giving students an event they could dress up at and have fun,” Gordon said. “We (wanted) people to come out in their ‘20s-themed attire and really have a good time, because we know this part of the semester can be so stressful.”

Gordon said PRSSA members from freshmen to seniors worked with vendors to marketing this event. Those students will now be able to include the event on résumés to show they promoted and organized a benefit gala. Liberty Student Government Association also sponsored the gala.

“We’ve been working tirelessly,” Gordon said. “We do a lot of event planning, event management and social media marketing. Our organization is all about helping students apply what they learn in the classroom in a real world setting.”

Gordon said PRSSA plans to host an event like this each semester. To see photos of the Gatsby Affair, check out #LUGatsbyAffair on Twitter and Instagram or on Liberty PRSSA’s Facebook page.

HOOSIER is a news reporter.

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