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80th annual Songfest to raise funds for Haiti

Song, dance and philanthropy have brought together students at The University of Toledo for Songfest since 1937.

This year, student organizations will compete under the theme “Rockets Re-loaded” to raise money for people in Haiti.

The 80th annual competition tradition known as Songfest begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1 in Savage Arena.

The event will benefit Hut Outreach.

“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 UT 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.

is UT's Media Relations Specialist. Contact her at 419.530.2077 or
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