Students get down, dirty for Special Olympics
John Taylor News-Leader
The Girls Next Door stood covered in mud in a downtown lot Friday afternoon, and they were thrilled.
"I absolutely love it. It's so much fun," said Missouri State University sophomore Sally Steppelman of Jefferson City, whose team had just scored a victory in the fifth Mudfest. "... They turned philanthropy into something that everybody can enjoy."
"They" are the members of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, who sponsored Mudfest, which benefits Special Olympics of Missouri.
Nate Wells, the fraternity's vice president, said about 100 teams registered for this year's event, which is a tug of war competition held in a pit of muddy water. With a $30 registration fee per team, Sigma Phi Epsilon raised about $3,000 for charity.
In previous years about 60 teams participated. The number of teams of women alone topped that this year at 76.
"This is the biggest it's ever been by far," Wells said.
MSU senior Emilie Franke said Mudfest is different from other fundraisers, which makes it popular with students.
"When else do you get to play in the mud?" she asked.
Tori Stone of St. Charles, whose Girls Next Door team included members of the Delta Zeta sorority, said, "What's tight about it, it's not just the seniors (who organized Mudfest). It's the sophomores getting involved."
Her teammate Kelley Alvers of St. Louis said the philanthropy of MSU's freshmen and sophomores was a good sign for the future of Greek life on campus.
Steppelman added that Mudfest was not a Greeks-only event. It was open to all students.
For the first time, Mudfest was held at the volleyball pit behind Jordan Creek Bar and Grill, 323 N. Patton Ave. In previous years it had been held at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house.