A night of glamour and giving back
Students at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine have revived a beloved fundraising tradition: Casino Night.
The event, which took place Jan. 21, offered food, drinks, and fun, with 20 tables of games such as blackjack, roulette, and even horse racing. At the end of the night, participants traded in their poker chips for raffle tickets and vied for their chance to win a variety of gift baskets donated by corporate sponsors, local businesses, and private donors.
Casino Night has not been held in recent years because of the pandemic, but the college community was excited to see the fundraiser’s return. With over 400 attendees, Casino Night generated around $10,000 for two worthy causes.
"It's exciting because even though we're following in the footsteps of previous years, we can also make this event our own. All of the previous Casino Nights have donated all of the proceeds to the Compassionate Care Fund, and I wanted to continue that tradition. So this year, we are dividing the proceeds between the Compassionate Care Fund and the Wildlife Ward," said Olivia Echols, a second-year student in the small animal track and the event’s lead organizer.
Echols is president of Alpha Psi, a veterinary professional fraternity that put on the event in collaboration with Omega Tau Sigma, a national veterinary service fraternity, and the Student American Veterinary Medical Association. She also led the event’s public relations committee, which landed sponsorships including Hill’s, Purina, and Premier Events.
The Compassionate Care Fund provides veterinary care at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital for animals whose owners otherwise could not otherwise afford treatment. The Wildlife Ward is an initiative from the Public Veterinary Practice Club that provides emergency treatment and rehabilitation for wildlife at the hospital, giving students hands-on experience in wildlife medicine.
"The Compassionate Care Fund and the Wildlife Ward both help animals and improve animal welfare, and they both help the students and the families behind those animals as well. It's a fun event, but it has an important purpose," said Alex Reddy, a third year student in the public/corporate and the outgoing president of the Public Veterinary Practice Club.
The event’s theme, wildlife masquerade, was a flashy way to tie into Casino Night’s philanthropic goal. Participants were eager to dress up and mingle with their fellow students in different years and with faculty.
Casino Night wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of its volunteers: Over 20 students served on different organizing committees, and over 75 students and faculty volunteered to run the event. Thanks to them, this year’s Casino Night truly upped the ante.