Students compete for charity donations

John Melendez

While some spent this Saturday celebrating Halloween, students competing in Texas Charity Pitch spent the day rehearsing slide shows and memorizing statistics to win up to $2,000 for their chosen charity.

Hosted by the University Securities Investment Team, the Texas Charity Pitch is an annual event where small teams of students choose, research and pitch a charity to a panel of judges. The first place team received a $1,500 donation for their charity, while second and third place received $1,000 and $500 donations respectively. An additional $500 donation was given to the crowd favorite.

The philanthropic focus of the charity event made it different from the other major events they host, said Phoebe Lin, president of the University Securities Investment Team. The event encourages students to realize how important giving back is, Lin said.

“A lot of the issues regarding poverty we externalize to thinking that’s not something that affects us,” said Lin, a finance and mathematics junior. “Charity is not some vague faraway concept, it’s something that’s really important, even at UT.”

The final round consisted of five finalist teams and eight judges from different organizations, such as Microsoft and Global Austin.

One final team stood out from the rest, as it only had two members — neither of whom are business majors. The duo, made up of biochemistry sophomore Mary Tran and geosciences senior Mitchell Pham, chose Vision Spring, a charity that helps distribute glasses to people in developing countries.

Tran said she has been trying to get more involved with business organizations and uses her science perspective to her advantage.

“STEM majors don’t like gray areas,” Tran said. “That’s the approach I took to researching. That helped me because if I knew what I was talking about, it was a lot easier to convey, and it was just a matter on working on presentation skills.”

At the end of the event, the ReadWorks charity team won $2,000 for coming in first place and winning crowd favorite. ReadWorks provides an online library to students and teachers to promote reading comprehension.

Business honors freshman Angela Yang said it was her first college competition of any kind. The impact the donation will make is extremely exciting, Yang said.

“We projected how many people would be impacted, and, with the $2,000 prize, it would be 25,000 kids that will receive literary content for a year,” Yang said.