Gamma Phi Beta kicks off Women’s History Month with empowering kickball tournament

The sorority aims to highlight the importance of uplifting young girls through their philanthropic efforts with Girls on the Run and their community involvement


Photo by Charles Stelzmiller

The winning team (Delta Sigma Phi) poses for a quick video with their banner.

by Olivia Barnard, Contributor

Spirits were high amongst the crowds of various teams and onlookers who gathered for the Gamma Phi Beta Kickball Tournament on March 11. 

Gamma Phi’s kickball tournament, called “Moonball,” is a one-day philanthropic event that raises money for the nonprofit organization, Girls on the Run.

This year, however, the festivities were extended for the entire week. According to Layla Tyree, a sophomore television, film, and media production major serving as vice president of public relations and chair of philanthropy, the sorority has planned for these events for several months. 

On the week of March 6, that Wednesday and Thursday, sorority sisters tabled to sell tickets and team shirts for Moonball. On Thursday night, an on-campus band, SubtleNotion, played at the chapter’s house. And Friday was the Gamma Phry event, in which the organization sold unique fair food. 

The sorority’s efforts certainly paid off as they raised $5,351 to go toward Girls on the Run. Furthermore, this year’s Moonball tournament — won by Delta Sigma Phi — had the largest turnout of any G Phi event since the COVID-19 lockdown.

Lucas Elias, a member of Sigma Chi and first-year general business major, participated in the tournament and reviewed the event.  

It’s been a blast. Games have been electric,” Elias said.

Amongst all of the fantastic vibes coursed one predominant energy: the passion and drive of empowered, strong women. 

Tyree, along with Kathryn Alexander and Elena Gandolfo, worked effortfully because G Phi is passionate about its support of young women through Girls on the Run. The philanthropic focus of all Gamma Phi Beta chapters is “Building strong girls,” and Girls on the Run works to facilitate this through sporting activities. 

Coaches for GOTR work with adolescents to train every week toward completing a 5K run. The organization also pays for their shoes and equipment. 

Sara Sussman, a fourth-year marketing major, has previously coached a team. Sussman found the experience rewarding as she bonded with and lifted up girls in the community. Sussman noted that she also got to know her sorority sister co-coaches better through volunteering for the program. 

Tyree also stressed the importance of the messaging of GOTR.

I think from a young age, girls lose their confidence very easily due to social media and so many factors,” Tyree said. “It’s really important to continue the lifting up as demonstrated by GOTR through college as well and through into our older years.”

G Phi is a place for strong women to create community. Alexander addressed that there are negative stigmas around sororities, but concluded that they can be really beneficial.

“It’s important to surround yourself with strong women, and I think college can be a hard time to find your people if you don’t necessarily put yourself out there,” Alexander said. “But when you do, it’s really special. Women need to lift up (other) women and we need to empower each other. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to find that in Gamma Phi Beta.”

The chapter isn’t only about the connection between sisters and other Greek life organizations— G Phi promotes inclusivity and invites the entire campus community to get involved. 

“It makes the campus feel a lot smaller,” Alexander said, “You can see the same people coming to all the events throughout the week.”

Jai Longno, a second-year nursing major, was present at the game as an Aztec Recreation Center member services representative.

“The event brings a sense of a unified community, and (it) just helps people feel one with the campus and the college life and experience,” Longno said.

Elias emphasized how valuable events like Moonball are when it comes to meeting new people. 

“You can build connections with people that you never thought you would. And it’s a great way to meet new friends and do things for a great cause,” Elias said.