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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Alpha Phi hosts annual Red Dress Gala to fundraise for women’s heart health

“I would love for everyone to leave the event with the understanding that the girls of Alpha Phi, who are organizing and working hard behind the scenes, are doing so for our philanthropy, for what we deeply care about,” says Bailey Croft, who played a large role in planning the gala.
Left+to+right%3A+Olivia+Lane+and+Bailey+Croft+speak+at+the+Red+Dress+Gala.
Kayla Scruci
Left to right: Olivia Lane and Bailey Croft speak at the Red Dress Gala.

Baldwin Wallace University’s Alpha Phi hosted their annual Red Dress Gala at the Columbia Ballroom on March 23 to fundraise for women’s heart health.

The event included a sitdown dinner along with speeches, raffles and silent auction baskets.

Bailey Croft, a sophomore English student and the vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within Alpha Phi, played a major role in the hosting of the event.

“I was elected onto the Executive Board, which was a huge honor and responsibility,” Croft said. “Stepping into this role was daunting as it involved event planning and soliciting donations — tasks I had never undertaken before.”

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Croft said that although the task at hand seemed daunting at first, she grew during the process and eventually succeeded.

“It was intimidating at first, but I chose to believe in myself and tackle the challenge head-on,” Croft said. “Despite being scared of planning something so big, I relied on the support of my sisters.”

Emma Lambert, a first-year international business student and the director of Diversity in Alpha Phi, said this was her first year experiencing the Red Dress Gala. She said that one aspect she enjoyed about the gala was the opportunity to network and meet other people.

“It’s a nice event at a beautiful venue where guests can dress-up, have dinner, and celebrate philanthropy,” Lambert said

Besides Croft and Lambert, other chairmen, including Abbey Bolton, Olivia Lane, Alexis Watkins and Lauren Golias, were involved in developing the Red Dress Gala.

Alexis Watkins, a senior communications studies major, said this was the third Dress Gala held since the COVID-19 pandemic and that the gala has evolved over the years due to the improved team communication.

“The biggest difference from before COVID-19 to now is the venue that we switched to that we like a lot more… Our advisors have been saying that it has been a much better experience for all of us,” Watkins said.

Watkins said she thought Croft did a great job planning the event.

“I can only imagine how different it must be for Bailey now, but I truly believe she’s set up for even greater success,” Watkins said. “Being involved in this event is not only enjoyable but also rewarding, particularly in supporting the younger members of our chapter.”

Watkins said that it “means a lot” to her to see the younger class continuing to plan this
event.

“Personally, Bailey holds a special place as my ‘G little,’ so being able to offer support and share my knowledge with her and others while contributing to women’s heart health, a cause close to my heart, makes the experience even more meaningful,” Watkins said. “It’s truly fulfilling to continue being a part of an event that has been such a significant aspect of my life.”

Lynn Murray, the chapter’s advisor who has been involved in the Alpha Phi foundation since 1997, said the Red Dress Gala provides a great opportunity for its members to learn how to plan and run events successfully, opening up doors for future career opportunities.

“I’ve had women who went into event planning, and they use their experience planning the gala on their resumes to sell themselves when seeking jobs,” Murray said.

Lambert said one challenge in developing the gala was “coordinating efforts.”

“Everyone’s schedules are packed, especially during critical times like midterms week, which coincided with ticket sales,” Lambert said.

Croft said a personal challenge for her when prepping for the Red Dress Gala was immediately initiating planning for the event as soon as she got elected vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in November of 2023.

“Planning for it [the gala] starts the minute you get that position… I’ve never had to plan such a big event in my life,” Croft said. “I’ve never had to pay so much attention to detail or keep track of so many things or manage so many people,  which is why I have a team of chairmen.”

To overcome the challenge of coordinating participation during busy times, Lambert said Croft took the initiative during the organization’s chapter meetings, which helped leverage vacant spots for selling tickets.

Croft said she overcame the challenge of planning the event by remembering the purpose behind the gala.

“I’m doing all of this so that there will be money that we can give to the Alpha Phi Foundation and to have a success event that my sisters can be proud of,” Croft said. “I overcame a lot of those challenges by saying I have to be strong because this is an event that’s going to reflect my chapter and I want to make sure it’s a good one.”

Croft hopes that along with having an opportunity to serve a charitable purpose, the attendees also enjoyed themselves.

“I want attendees to leave feeling happy about their decision to come,” Croft said. “I hope the event is enjoyable and entertaining, with opportunities for people to win prizes through activities like the basket raffle.”

Lambert said she hopes that attendees take away how easy it is to help the community.

“It’s essential to recognize the value of supporting other groups on campus, regardless of affiliations,” Lambert said. “We’re all striving towards philanthropic goals, each with our unique causes, yet united in our efforts to better our community and the world.”

Watkins said the importance of women’s heart health is a big message that they hope attendees take away from the gala.

“It’s crucial to highlight the under-diagnosis of heart conditions in women compared to men. Much scientific research has been focused on men, setting a standard that may not fully apply to women and leading to significant disparities in healthcare. This issue deeply resonates with me since becoming a sister of Alpha Phi,” Watkins said.

Editor’s Note: Bailey Croft, Alexis Watkins and Emma Lambert work for The Exponent.

Last edited April 9, 2024.

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