Home » Sections » Features » Students create a united Phront

Students create a united Phront

By chriscal

Section: Features

January 16, 2009

Phront: Julian Olidort '11 (left), president of the Student Philanthropic Front (Phront for short), speaks to members Wednesday night, during their first official meeting of the semester.  At the beginning of each semester, members of the Phront elect a charitable cause presented by a student and work to raise money to help the student meet their goals.  Last semester members of the Phront raised $1435.86 to help bring electricity to a village in Peru.  Fundraiser events ranged from a concert at Biagio's to a dormstorming event with members of the Brandeis men's ultimate frisbee team. The Phront will host their election meeting Thursday Jan. 22.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay /The Hoot</i>

Phront: Julian Olidort '11 (left), president of the Student Philanthropic Front (Phront for short), speaks to members Wednesday night, during their first official meeting of the semester. At the beginning of each semester, members of the Phront elect a charitable cause presented by a student and work to raise money to help the student meet their goals. Last semester members of the Phront raised $1435.86 to help bring electricity to a village in Peru. Fundraiser events ranged from a concert at Biagio's to a dormstorming event with members of the Brandeis men's ultimate frisbee team. The Phront will host their election meeting Thursday Jan. 22.
PHOTO BY Max Shay /The Hoot

Maybe you noticed members of Voices of Soul, Brandeis’ a cappella group, strutting around in their bathing suits in the freezing cold one night late last semester soliciting money. Or perhaps you saw members of Tron, Brandeis’ men’s ultimate Frisbee team gliding door to door, dressed in full game garb requesting donations.

No? Well maybe the candygrams being sold in Usdan caught your eye on the way to the mailroom. Or maybe you attended the cocktail party/concert at Biagio’s Ristorante & Bar with performances from Brandeis’ own rockin’ artists and Boston’s the Van Buren Boys.

Still not ringing a bell? Maybe you missed out on the Student Philanthropic Front’s–Phront for short–first fundraising campaign. Supporters of the Phront raised $1435.86 last semester to support a cause in Peru selected by Brandeis students.

With the somewhat 250 clubs listed in the mybrandeis directory, perhaps you missed this fairly new club with the catchy nickname and the unique approach on fundraising.

“We’re trying to be a service for the community for those that want to give and don’t necessarily have the time to give directly to a cause or research a cause,” Phront president Julian Olidort ’11 said.

At the start of each semester, Olidort explained, the Phront hosts a meeting where any member of the Brandeis community can present a cause or mission they’ve been working on in the hopes of being elected as the club’s cause of the semester. From here on, members of the Phront dedicate themselves to raising the money necessary to meet the goal of the elected cause.

Members of the Phront work off the motto of “tangible impact,” Olidort said, meaning rather than merely giving money to a charity or to a foundation, the Phront gives money to a student who “becomes the middle person and gets it to a final destination or final cause.”

After its first fundraising campaign, the Phront has become that “bridge between those that want to give and those that need the funding for projects,” Olidort said.

Growing up, Olidort, an Orthodox Jew, was used to donating to charity on a regular basis. When he arrived at Brandeis last January for his first semester as a midyear student, though, this practice changed. “I had a hard time finding that outlet where I would be able to give even small amounts on a regular basis,” he said.

Seeking an outlet that would keep him “in the same charitable mentality” as before, Olidort decided to develop his own service and enlisted the help of Julie Judson ’11 and Robin Lichtenstein ’11.

He envisioned the Student Philanthropic Front as a service that would come to students’ doors “in a non-imposing way on a relatively regular basis and give them a cause that a fellow student is passionate about and a cause that has been elected by students.”

Alex Ball ’09 had been raising money to bring electricity to a rural village in Peru when he heard about the Phront’s election meeting just days before it was to take place.

Though he’d raised quite some money through fundraising campaigns in local Peruvian high schools, Ball found himself a bit short of his goal of $7000. So he decided to check out the new club for himself and members of the Phront soon elected his cause as their first ever fundraising campaign.

Though he was initially skeptical when he first heard of the methods the Phront was planning to raise money, Ball was pleasantly surprised in the end. “They were incredibly helpful,” he said.

Members of the Phront hosted four main fundraising events to raise nearly $1500: selling candygrams, organizing a concert at Biagio’s, hosting an a capella singoff and planning Tronstorm, a dormstorming event with members of Tron.

In their quest to help the Phront, members of Tron split into two groups, made the rounds of the dorms on campus and raised close to $500 in one night, more than any of the Phront’s other fundraising events.

“Not only is this a miraculous feat on the part of Tron, who was able to help us raise money based solely on their charm, looks, and etiquette, but it also shows how willing the community really is to support fellow students in raising money for a humanitarian cause that one Brandeis student has been passionate about,” Olidort said.

Voices of Soul singer Ji Yun Lee ’11 said she and her fellow a cappella singers were more than happy to help out the Phront and even dressed up for the event–in their bathing suits. “It was a great cause and it was a good opportunity for us to interact with our fans,” she said.

Because of the Phront’s concentration on one cause, Lee said, their goals are that much more feasible and members “are able to stay focused.”

Thanks to the money members of the Phront raised, helping to meet Ball’s goal, residents of one Peruvian village will now have less expensive and more sustainable electricity methods. “It’s interesting the effects or the benefits that this type of power project can bring,” he said.

Without electricity, Ball explained, residents of the village depend on expensive and environmentally damaging kerosene and batteries to fuel their power sources. He hopes to stop in Lima, Peru to purchase some supplies for the project on his way to study abroad in Brazil.

After supporting a cause of international breadth last semester, members of the Phront now plan to focus on an issue closer to home and hope to impact the lives of those living closer to the Brandeis campus.

The spring semester cause election meeting will take place next Thursday. Students interested in more information can contact members of the Phront.

In other plans for the club, members of the Phront will apply for a Student Union charter this semester and hope to “give as much help to humanitarian causes as we can,” Olidort said.

“No matter to what degree students’ interests vary, we almost all value charity,” Olidort said. “That is what the Phront is trying to do, and, the community, when given the opportunity to listen and act, performed beautifully.”

Menu Title