Beta Theta Pi hosts Pi Day events to raise funds for Mission Waco

Brentwood, Tenn., freshman J.T. Wood participates in Beta Theta Pi’s annual Pi Day pie-eating contest on Thursday evening on Fountain Mall. The event also featured pie-baking and pie-throwing competitions. Shae Koharski | Multimedia Journalist

By Madalyn Watson | Staff Writer

The men of Beta Theta Pi celebrated Pi Day a week early this year on Thursday evening by holding several pie-themed competitions on Fountain Mall.

The fraternity invited all students to celebrate with them by competing in pie-eating and pie-throwing contests, as well a homemade pie competition.

All of the proceeds of the event will go to the fraternity’s philanthropy, Mission Waco, specifically their children’s robotics program.

Pi Day, which is March 14, celebrates the symbol Pi used in mathematics to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

Spring junior Shawn Risdal, philanthropy chair for Beta Theta Pi, said the change in date did not change their pie-centric celebration.

“It’s usually supposed to be on March 14 because the date spells out 3.14 but that’s over spring break so we couldn’t do that this year,” Risdal said.

Risdal said Pi Day gives people the opportunity to recite as many of the infinite numbers of Pi that they can remember and enjoy pie.

In addition to being a holiday for math and pie, Risdal said it’s celebrated by members of Beta Theta Pi because the Greek letter is part of their name.

The pie baking contest was judged by three special guest judges that were announced on the fraternity’s Instagram throughout the week: first gentleman Brad Livingstone; Dr. Burt Burleson, university chaplain/dean of spiritual life and the winner of last year’s pie baking contest, Katie McIntosh.

In addition to competitions, there were free cookies from Tiff’s Treats, Pokey-O’s cookies and ice cream sandwiches and a booth for Mission Waco.

“Any sort of money we raised goes to them, all of it goes to Mission Waco,” Risdal said.

Mission Waco’s website says their mission statement is to provide Christian-based programs and to motivate middle-class Americans to help the poor and to find ways to overcome “the systemic issues of social injustice which oppress the poor and marginalized.”

Temple sophomore Sergio Mendoza, the vice president of communications for Beta Theta Pi, said he volunteers with Mission Waco outside of the fraternity as well.

“We had always been partnered with Mission Waco because that is like a philanthropy that like a lot of the members here are closely tied to, whether through volunteering or just like knowing some of the people that work there,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza also said Beta Theta Pi not only inspired him to give back, but also pursue leadership roles.

“Our fraternity does develop leaders like as soon as they are able to rush the fraternity. It’s a leadership fraternity and then they use the five core values to build men of principle,” Mendoza said.

The five core values of Beta Theta Pi are mutual assistance, intellectual growth, trust, responsible conduct and integrity.

“We use that to build leaders, starting from freshman year and then so on, by being able to give them positions as soon as they join if they prove that they are able to handle it and can handle the commitment,” Mendoza said.