Student United Way partnered with Bloomington Delta Music Club on Saturday to host a benefit concert from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. Saturday at Dunn Meadow. The fundraiser was to support the United Way of Monroe County’s COVID-19 relief fund, an organization dedicated to improving peoples’ lives throughout the Monroe, Owen and Greene counties .
Student United Way at IU is a student-run organization that’s focused on volunteering and providing service to the Bloomington community. They serve as an extension of the United Way of Monroe County and seek to partner with local nonprofit organizations to benefit those in need.
Despite heavy restrictions to organize on campus, Student United Way and Bloomington Delta Music Club were determined to continue their efforts to help those who are financially struggling. They recruited local student musicians from the Bloomington Delta Music Club to play music for this event. Madeline Garcia, president of Student United Way, said the benefit concert was effective in meeting their goals or something lke that.
“We worked as an agency to help other nonprofits get back on their feet financially and provide them with necessary resources,” Garcia said. “We set our fundraising goal to $200 for the event, but we ended up raising $366 instead. We nearly doubled our goal which was really exciting.”
Student United Way and Bloomington Delta Music Club felt like they had an effect on the larger community and to individuals who are facing financial difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia said.
Advaith Bharathwaj, IU sophomore and community engagement director for SUW, said there was a week of open-air venues leading up to this event. The three-hour concert with BDMC on Saturday was the concluding final event for it.
“It was a safe way for us to come together and raise money for a great cause, which was the most rewarding part for me,” Bharathwaj said. “We were able to hang out with people outside and watch a show.”
It was challenging to organize the volunteer event during the pandemic, Bharathwaj said. IU faculty approved the event under certain conditions. To abide by IU and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, they enforced the rules to maintain a safe environment for attendees.
“Everyone wore a mask, there was plenty of space for people to social distance, and we had plenty of hand sanitizer at the tables,” Bharathwaj said.
Both organizations decided to hold the event outside as a safety precaution. .
Elliott Obermaier, IU junior and co-president of Bloomington Delta Music Club, said there was a lot of event planning involved and ensuring that COVID-19 protocols were being followed.
“I was in charge of putting together three different acts for the show,” Obermaier said. "After everything was set up I played an actual set at the end of the show.”
It was rewarding to draw in a crowd and get the community excited to raise money and donate to a noble cause, Obermaier said.
“For me, it is recognizing what music can do as a fundraising tool to raise money," Obermaier said. "It was satisfying to know that the show was not just music to entertain people."