Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Professor pied for student clubs’ clothing drive

Oshan Hamal
Pastor Melinda Pupillo, who had the second highest score, pies first-place Nathan Frank on Pi Day, March 14, in the Hanson Lobby.

The Augustana Physics and Engineering Society (APES) club and Psychology and Neuroscience Club partnered to host a “Pi week” clothing drive. From March 11-14, the clubs collected clothing donations in the Brew to celebrate both Pi Day and National Social Work Month. The donations culminated in points going towards which professor would get a pie in the face in the Hanson lobby on March 14, or Pi Day.

According to the club’s leaderboard, a total of 76 clothing items were collected. All donations went to Family Resources Inc., a social services organization located in Davenport, Iowa.

A Pi Day charity celebration has been a tradition of the physics department for several years. In the past, monetary donations have been collected for charity, and either a physics professor or student involved in APES, physics or computer science would be “pied.”

This year, APES and Psych Club chose to focus on clothing items rather than monetary donations. According to senior Ethan-Viet Bui, the vice president of APES, one of the reasons the clubs chose clothing is because many students partake in spring cleaning.

“Usually people donate by cents or coins. When they add up, it’s not much compared to a piece of clothing,” Bui said. “Also, at the end of the year, students throw a lot of clothes away since we’re in the spring semester. Why not donate their old clothes or clothes they don’t use anymore?”

William Murillo, president of APES, said Family Resources was the first organization he thought of for the clothing drive. Senior Rachel Blankenship, vice president of the psychology and neuroscience club, also works at the social service organization, allowing the clubs to establish an immediate connection. 

“I work in the domestic violence shelter in Davenport,” Blankenship said. “We really need clothes there, so I thought I’d help out.”

Blankenship said the organization offers many different services to the local community. 

“They do victim advocacy, we have advocates that are on call,” Blankenship said. “That and their [domestic violence] shelter are the primary things they have going on. They also have community counseling and things like that.”

In addition to aiding the community, Motti Kelbessa, the secretary of APES, said the clothing drive allowed all members of campus the opportunity to get involved and help the local community. 

“We hoped it would bring a couple of people together that never really see each other that much,” Kelbessa said. “We involved professors that we normally wouldn’t have talked to, like Pastor [Melinda] Pupillo.”

Initially, the Pi Day tradition was only to “pie” a senior in the computer science or physics department, but last year, APES and Psych Club decided to make a change. Bui said this year was different because the faculty got involved.

“The professor with the highest number of points is going to get ‘pied’ by the second highest professor,” Bui said.

This year, the candidates to get “pied” were Nathan Frank, Melinda Pupillo, Jason Mahn, Mark Safstrom and Charles J Schmidt. The result of the donations led to Frank with a total of 31 points, and Pupillo with a total of 18 points. With the most donations, Frank, a physics professor, was pied by Pupillo, Augustana’s pastor.

“It felt good to sacrifice a little of my dignity for a good cause,” Frank said. “It was worth it.”

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