By Blair Donner
Derek Howard Leckner, AEPi’s Philanthropy Chair, is all too well aware that to raise funds for even the best of causes requires creativity, resourcefulness, and persistence. AEPi, the Jewish fraternity on campus, has a goal to raise ten thousand dollars for the Gift of Life: Bone Marrow Foundation and Leckner has been proactive about this in a multitude of ways. His efforts have been continuing for the past three months. The latest way he plans to serve AEPi and their goal is through the Rock-a-Thon.
“Essentially the Rock-a-Thon event,” Leckner explained, “Is where we elect a brother to sit on a rocking chair for twenty-six hours straight.” The elected brother sat on a rocking chair starting November 11, 2015 at 10:00 p.m. and was not be allowed to get up until that following Friday morning. Meanwhile, brothers from AEPi took to the streets of New Brunswick to raise money for this cause. The elected brother only slept when he was rocked by another AEPi member. Additionally, he was provided food and blankets by members of AEPi in order to eat and keep warm. “The funds raise just don’t go to the Gift of Life,” Leckner added, “It will also go to the IDF in honor of Veterans Day.” The brothers alongside him nodded in agreement as he said this. They were sitting in Chabad House’s dining hall, selling bright blue bracelets that read AEPi Rock-a-Thon.
The Rock-a-Thon event is not unique to Rutgers, but in fact runs deep within the AEPi history. The tradition began at University of Missouri in 1969 when a couple of brothers from AEPi held this type of fundraiser. At that time, the Missouri brothers raised $900, but as the event grew in popularity it started to became a biannual ordeal and consequently raise more funds. In recent years, University of Missouri AEPi’s fundraiser has reached a peak amount of $132,000. The Rutgers University AEPi branch hopes to accomplish a similar feat.
The idea for an AEPi Rock-a-Thon was inspired by word of mouth among brothers of other campuses. “I heard about this event through another University of Binghamton brother,” Leckner commented, “And decided to bring it to Rutgers.” Founded in 1913 at NYU, the organization has spread not only across the entirety of the U.S., but also to other continents as well. Although it is based upon Jewish principles, membership is open to all who support its cause.
At Chabad House, AEPi members are always volunteering whether it’s with event planning, or just generally providing resources and help to the community. Thus, Leckner and his team were more than welcome to promote their event within the Chabad House at Rutgers, and Leckner was not shy about voicing his gratitude for the opportunity. “I’m thankful that Rabbi Goodman gave us this opportunity to raise awareness,” he said, “It’s a chance for us to give to the community.”
Beyond AEPi, Chabad House partners with a host of volunteer and service opportunities to help out the local communities. These include, but are not limited to, trips to senior centers, hospital visits, and a myriad of donation clothing, toys, and supply drives for the needy. If you are looking for these type of community service leadership opportunities, Chabad House at Rutgers is a great place to get started. For more information about Chabad House at Rutgers, visit us on the web at http://www.chabadrutgers.com, http://www.chabadnj.org, or call 732-296-1800.