Compete for a cause: 80th annual Songfest to raise funds for Hut Outreach

March 29, 2017 | Events, UToday
By Madison Vasko



Since 1937, UT students have been brought together by song, dance and philanthropy for Songfest. This year, student organizations will compete to raise money for Hut Outreach under the theme: Rockets Re-loaded.

“We knew we wanted to choose something that had a Toledo touch, so it could entice people to get involved, but we also wanted to keep a global scope,” said Stephanie Elkins, vice president of Blue Key Honor Society and emcee for Songfest 2017. “Hut Outreach was actually founded by University of Toledo alumni who visited for a mission trip and felt called to continue serving. It was the perfect blend of local and global for us to make a difference.

“This year we are hoping to raise $10,000. This would go toward building the first Hut Outreach-funded high school in this area of Haiti as well as help feed 300 kids for an entire year.”

Hut Outreach was founded in 1997, and creates building projects and schools that employ native Haitians. Through these projects, locals gain the opportunity to earn income. Hut Outreach has the capability to channel 100 percent of donations directly to Haiti, with the U.S. side of the organization funded through volunteers and the board of directors.

This year’s Songfest theme gives participants the opportunity to choose songs from the 1940s to the 2000s, celebrating the generations since the tradition’s founding.
“Brandon [Rosolowski, fellow emcee,] and I love this theme because it allows the groups to take more ownership of their performances,” Elkins said. “In the past, they’ve had to choose from a list of songs we give them, but this year for the first time, they could choose what they wanted, as long as it hadn’t been used in Songfest the past four years.”

Student organizations are excited to have the freedom of choosing songs and decades that fit their individual themes.

“Prepare to hear some of the most amazing songs from each different decade we chose,” said Maddy Hoste, co-director of the Kappa Delta Sorority team. “We are excited to put on a show even better than last year.”

Many hours of practice go into the weeks and months leading up to Songfest, but the performances that result have led to the event becoming one of the most highly anticipated of the spring semester.

In addition to the musical numbers, Blue Key National Honor Fraternity and Mortar Board National Honor Society, the Songfest sponsors, hold their recognition and tapping ceremonies during the event.

Songfest 2017 will be held Saturday, April 1, at 5 p.m. in Savage Arena.

To make a donation benefiting Hut Outreach, click here.