By Michael Rodriguez
With dozens of students huddled in Alumni Grove, cooing and giggling, a passerby might have assumed there was a celebrity sighting on campus. But what kind of celebrity barks and begs for treats?
On April 2, the sisters of Tri Sigma Sorority hosted Puppies for Preemies to support improved healthcare for premature babies and their mothers.
The “celebrities” were Portuguese water dogs Coco and Bacho and golden retrievers Leo and Angel.
The event featured a bake sale and a puppy meet-and-greet, allowing students to purchase cupcakes and cookies for themselves as well as treats for their dogs.
The dog owner, Julia Lombardi, a junior public health major and the philanthropist chair of Tri Sigma, was in charge of organizing the event. She felt that dogs would be the best way to involve students in supporting the philanthropy.
“I brought my own dogs from home,” Lombardi said. “They help attract people, which helps us raise awareness. I’m glad everyone loves them.”
The sales from the event were donated to March for Dimes and the Robbie Page Memorial Fund. March for Dimes is a non-profit organization that raises awareness about premature babies and works to foster better health for babies and their mothers. The Robbie Page Memorial Fund is also dedicated to helping mothers and their babies by promoting the need for therapeutic play for young children with polio.
Lauren Katz, a sophomore elementary education and psychology dual major, was passing by the library when she noticed Bacho taking treats from a group of students.
“Events like these bring in a lot of people and not specifically just to buy things,” Katz said. “It’s about the dogs. It’s about the charities. It’s about raising awareness.”
Many other students shared Katz’s excitement about Tri Sigma’s fundraiser, with some even leaving and coming back to donate again or bring their friends.
Between Puppies for Preemies and other events during Philanthropy Week, Tri Sigma raised $545 for March for Dimes and the Robbie Page Memorial Fund, according to Lombardi.
“It means so much to me to be able to raise this money for such an important cause that has affected not only myself but family members, friends and sisters,” Lombardi said.