Omega Phi Alpha uses benefit concert to make an impact

Joanna Williams

In 2008, Kayla Clausen, an alumna of Omega Phi Alpha sorority, took a trip that changed her life.

Now she’s using that experience to impact the WKU community and people halfway across the world.

Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Diddle Arena, the OPAs will be hosting The Band Perry Benefit Concert to raise money for Global Volunteer Network’s “Eat So They Can” program.

Clausen, who graduated last May, took a trip to Vietnam in 2008 with GVN, where she worked at a small orphanage with about 12 disabled children, she said. She is now one of 21 GVN volunteers throughout the world.

Clausen has served at the helm of six months worth of preparations and marketing for the event and is the go-between for the OPAs and The Band Perry.

The country music group’s song “If I Die Young” has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and was nominated for “Country Song of The Year” at the 53rd Grammy Awards, according the website for the Grammys.

Booking one of the fastest-rising country bands in the country for the benefit was no easy feat, Clausen said.

“It was pretty difficult,” Clausen said. “We had a couple of bands that didn’t come through. In the end, The Band Perry was the most flexible to come,” she said.

All 75 OPAs have had to sell tickets, and they expect over 2,000 people, said Cassie Ernstes, co-service director for the OPAs.

Money has been an obstacle for the service sorority, because the OPAs don’t require fees for their members, unlike many Greek organizations, Clausen said.

Ernstes said she has been to numerous establishments asking for support for the benefit.

All of the proceeds raised from the benefit will go toward sponsoring an OPA member to go to Kenya and work in Internal Displacement Camps, Clausen said.

The OPAs hope to raise $15,000 from the concert and ultimately $20,000 for the trip, Clausen said.

GVN program director Eliza Raymond said the money raised from OPA’s benefit will be a helpful contribution to their programs.

“We want to build sustainable projects that impact them in years to come,” Raymond said.

She said those who attend the concert will have two great benefits.

“For one, it’s an amazing concert with an amazing band,” Raymond said. “And two, people can go and feel good about themselves. They’ll be helping to impact people who need it.”