Kappa Alpha Theta concert at Palladium to benefit McLennan County CASA

Kappa Alpha Theta will host its annual philanthropic event Friday at Fountain Mall. Lariat file photo.

By Matt Kyle | Assistant News Editor

Updated Nov. 4

Due to weather, the 5K run has been canceled, and the concert venue has been moved from Fountain Mall to the Palladium, located at 729 Austin Avenue.

Original story below

A charity concert and 5K run are set for Friday at Fountain Mall benefiting Kappa Alpha Theta’s philanthropy, McLennan County CASA — an organization that assists children in foster care.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. Primarily, the organization trains advocates to speak on behalf of children in the foster care system and watch out for their needs. Lucas Land, director of communications and development for McLennan County CASA, said in McLennan County, there are about 500 children in foster care, with volunteers assigned to around 140 children, showing the gap in needed care in the community.

Keller junior Ryan Sturges, CASA 5K and Concert chair, said the money raised for the concert will go directly to McLennan County CASA rather than the national organization, meaning the concert will directly benefit the Waco community.

“What’s really special about our sorority is there’s actually a CASA McLennan County office,” Sturges said. “So not only does this event affect our philanthropy on a Theta level, but it also impacts the Waco community.”

Land said Theta has had a huge impact on the organization over the years by hosting fundraising events and spreading the word about CASA, leading more advocates to volunteer.

“We would not be where we are at without their support,” Land said.

This will be the eighth time Theta has hosted the CASA 5K and Concert event. This year’s concert will feature RELIC, a Texas-based indie rock band. Sturges said Theta reached out to multiple bands about performing, but the members of RELIC were the ones most excited to perform.

“RELIC was definitely the most excited about it,” Sturges said. “Some of them are from Waco. A lot of the band members actually know what CASA is, and they have friends who are actually CASA advocates.”

Jake Baker, lead singer and rhythm guitarist for RELIC, said the band has a close friend who is a CASA advocate. He also said RELIC drummer Nathan Slonaker is a Baylor graduate and was a student when the band was formed in 2018. Baker said Waco is one of RELIC’s favorite places to perform, as the band played at Common Grounds and Christmas on Fifth last year, as well as at multiple Greek Life events.

“Anything with Baylor Greek Life just tends to go well,” Baker said. “The students who run these events and put them together are really accommodating and kind. They’re just really easy to work with. Second, we know the organization that the concert is supporting. We ourselves have seen firsthand what great work they do. So it made sense for us to jump in on a concert that was supporting such a great cause.”

Dallas senior Emma Roden, CASA 5K and Concert fundraising chair, said tickets for the concert can be purchased through Theta’s CrowdChange page or at one of its tables around campus. Options include a ticket just for the concert for $14.95 or a bundle that allows entry into the 5K and the concert with the inclusion of a T-shirt for $24.95.

Roden said the 5K will start at 6:30 p.m. on Fountain Mall. She said participants will take a route around Baylor’s campus before ending back at Fountain Mall around 8:30 p.m. There will be a 30-minute break in between the end of the 5K and the start of the concert, during which Roden said gift cards will be given out to the winners of the 5K.

Roden also said a prize will be given to the person best dressed to match the theme of the event, which is red, white and blue for CASA’s colors.

“Anything you have that is red, white and blue — we’re going more for energy and creativity than any sort of specific design,” Roden said. “We just want to get people super excited and super pumped for the event and getting dressed up. That’s always a fun thing.”