By Maya Butler | Reporter
Students can dust off their cowboy boots just in time for Pi Phi’s annual Howdy dance, set to start at 7 p.m. Friday in Burleson Quadrangle.
Hosted by Pi Beta Phi and the Baylor Activities Council, Howdy will feature an assortment of entertaining activities, including a petting zoo, photo opportunities, a pie-eating competition and, of course, country dancing. In addition, free food such as churros, popcorn, cotton candy, Texas BBQ sandwiches, watermelon and more will be provided. The Chris Story Band, who performed at last year’s event, will return Friday to play live music for the crowd.
Every year, the sorority puts on Howdy to raise awareness and funds for their philanthropy, Read > Lead > Achieve, which aims to inspire and educate students on literacy.
Friday will mark the 58th year Pi Phi has hosted Howdy. The Woodlands junior Mary Claire Gaddy, who serves as one of the Howdy chairs, described the evolution of Howdy over the years.
“It’s becoming a Baylor event even more so than it is a Pi Phi event,” Gaddy said. “If you ask adults, parents that went to Baylor, they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember Howdy,’ so it’s so much more than Pi Phi could have ever dreamed it to be.”
For last year’s Howdy, Gaddy estimated about 3,500 students in attendance and projects the number to be even larger this year.
Coppell senior Mary-Catherine Crutchfield, president of Pi Phi, acknowledged the growth Howdy has undergone with each passing year.
“It’s definitely grown. I think this is the 58th year to put on Howdy, and even in the past, like five or six years, you’ve seen it exponentially grow,” Crutchfield said. “Other chapters at other schools have seen Baylor Howdy and have been looking for ways to put our ideas in place at their schools. Like Texas A&M, they’re doing Howdy for the first time this year, and they’re getting to see and experience what Baylor Howdy is and implement it at their school.”
Since last Wednesday, Pi Phi members have been promoting the upcoming event by selling Howdy t-shirts around campus, priced at $12.
Entry to Howdy is free, and students will be given a stamp on their hand and two tickets to receive food or to try out any of the activities. Students wishing for more tickets can pay extra, and money from ticket sales will go toward the philanthropy.
Dallas junior Avery Stogner, who also serves as a Howdy chair, described the atmosphere Howdy creates.
“I believe there is a great community fostered at Howdy,” Stogner said. “It brings people together because of the cause that we’re raising money and awareness for.”
While raising money for their philanthropy serves as a main factor behind hosting Howdy every year, Stogner revealed another purpose of the dance.
“One goal is philanthropy and another goal is just for the Baylor students and the Baylor experience,” Stogner said. “This is an awesome way for Pi Phi to serve Baylor.”