By Maggie Thomas, For The Miami Student

With the holidays quickly approaching, Christmas lights will soon cover the city of Oxford. Miami University’s Greek community will begin a competition today, to celebrate the holidays and raise money for a local food pantry.

In an effort to reach out to those less fortunate, the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Alpha Phi sorority will host a house lighting competition, “Light Fight” between fraternities and sororities. The best-decorated house will be awarded and all money raised will go toward Oxford’s local food pantry, Oxford Community Choice Pantry.

Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Phi invited the entire Greek community to participate in this event to raise money for the Oxford Community Choice Pantry. Each fraternity will partner with a sorority and work as a team to decorate the fraternity’s house in holiday lights.

“As we got closer to the holiday season, we thought, ‘Why not encourage something people do normally, add a philanthropy element with it, and with this we are raising money for the pantry,’” said Matthew Rigali, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s philanthropy chair. “The money will go to families right here in Oxford who aren’t regularly able to afford groceries.”

According to Rigali, participants will have three days to decorate their houses. The competition begins today, as participants will begin decorating. On Dec. 3, a panel of judges, including Greek organizations’ advisers and university officials will decide who moves forward in the competition. Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Phi are responsible for organizing the event, and will not compete in the house decorating.

To participate, each organization must pay a $100 fee. Local venues that have donated for the cause include Brick Street, The Wood’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Insomnia Cookies, Apple Tree and CJ’s. Their goal is $5,000.

“I think that the event will be a huge success. We already have so many people sponsoring it and everyone is getting very excited,” said Maria Hoge, Alpha Phi’s philanthropy chair. “It’s a great way for everyone to come together for a good cause.”

Christy Flaherty, member of Pi Beta Phi, said she is thrilled to hear about this event.

“Tau Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Phi came up with an awesome idea, with great timing. It’s nice to think of those who are less fortunate than us, especially during the holiday season,” said Flaherty. “Decorating the fraternity houses with holiday lights will not only make the houses look pretty, but raise money to those who are less fortunate. This event makes me proud to say I am a part of Miami’s Greek community.”

Within the next few weeks, fraternity houses will be shining with holiday lights. This year the holiday lights will serve as more than just a decoration, but an act of service and generosity.

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