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Alpha Xi Delta’s “Are You Smarter Than a XI?” Philanthropic event success

By Tyler Kennedy

Staff Writer

“What is the official language of the United States?”

That was the first question that stumped Adam Glidden, who served as Sigma Chi’s contestant for Alpha Xi Delta’s “Are You Smarter than a XI?” contest. The answer to that question, which both surprised Glidden and elicited gasps from the audience, was that there is no official language for the nation.

The event, which was held on Wednesday night in the Granite State Room of the MUB, served as AZD’s main philanthropy event for the semester. Approximately $1,300 was raised from the event, and it all went directly to Autism Speaks, which was chosen as AZD’s national philanthropy in 2009. 

Kate O’Neill, a spokesperson from Autism Speaks, opened up the event with a description of the organization she was representing. The main focus, she remarked, was to spread knowledge regarding autism in the community. Alpha Xi Delta, according to her, is Autism Speaks’ top national supporter and has raised over $3 million for the foundation.

This is the first time that the sorority has officially held this event on campus. However, it did closely resemble a philanthropy event the women held in the fall of 2013 titled “Are You Smarter than a Frat Brother?” These titles are a spin on the once-popular TV show, “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?” which ran on Fox from 2007 to 2009.

“It’s kind of going off of the same idea as that, we just changed it up a little,” junior Makenzie Venckauskas, who serves as Xi’s philanthropy chairman said. “We named it ‘Are You Smarter than a Xi?’, because . . . AZD has the highest Panhellenic GPA.”

Venckauskas had high hopes for the event to be a success.

“I just hope that it’s going to run smoothly, and people are going to enjoy it,” she said. “We have two sisters who are pretty funny and are MCing it… I know that people are going to have a good time.”

Venckauskas didn’t have the exact amount of funding that the event received, but she estimated that her sorority spent around $50 to bring Greek life the intellectual competition it has been anticipating all semester.

There were nine contestants, each a brother from a different fraternity at UNH. In the first two rounds, each brother was asked six questions from six different categories. The categories included pop culture, math, sports, science, history and geography. The contestants were given lifelines for reference in the form of six AZD sisters, who were each ‘highly knowledgeable’ on the category represented. Each brother was only allowed to request help from an AZD sister once during the round.

The crowd, which was dominantly comprised of members of UNH’s Greek community, was loud and lively throughout the event in support of the brothers. There were times in which laughs were shared with the contestants, and times in which laughter was held at the expense of the contestants, but each brother left the stage with a smile on his face.

At the end of the first round, only two of the nine contestants remained: Nick Catalano of Lambda Chi Alpha and Zachary Borim of Tau Kappa Epsilon. Each was asked to answer as many questions correctly in a minute as they could.  In the end, Borim won the competition along with the two Red Sox tickets donated by Autism Speaks.

“I had a great time, I loved having the crowd,” he said. “I feel like [if AZD does it next year] TKE is going to make me do it a second time.”

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