Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools
For the first time ever, OSU Follies has turned its philanthropic focus toward the Stillwater community. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs has selected Stillwater High School’s performing arts as this year’s beneficiary for the longstanding OSU tradition.
In previous years, Follies raised money for Hearts for Hearing, Coaches vs Cancer, the Cowboy Strong Fund, and a variety of other causes, but decided to use this year as an opportunity to give back to the community that OSU calls home.
“The leadership in our show community has long wanted to find an opportunity to give back to the local community,” says Casey Domnick, Assistant Director for Fraternity and Sorority Affairs. “This lines up perfectly with the university’s land-grant mission to improve lives and communities within the state. We were very excited for the opportunity to give back to the Stillwater community in this way by partnering with Stillwater Public Schools to support students of all ages in the performing arts.”
Funds generated will be shared between ongoing Performing Arts Center projects and the district’s secondary performing arts programs – band, orchestra, choir, drama, and tech theater, which collectively serve more than 1,200 students. Potential projects include lighting and set technologies, prop and costuming equipment, enhanced audio systems, instruments, and uniforms. The programs also hope to be able to bring in visiting artists and clinicians and to offer scholarships for students attending summer camps, entering college, or needing financial assistance to participate in the arts.
“Growing up in fine arts, I’ve seen first-hand the value that music and theater programs in high school can provide,” says Rector. “I’m so excited for the opportunity to create this partnership and work to have an impact on the future of Stillwater,”
“In 2021, Follies donated a record breaking $57,000,” says Reid Rector, Graduate Assistant for Shows and Programming. “This year we hope that our donation to Stillwater Public Schools exceeds even that amount.” With the Saturday show selling out in 10 minute and all performances selling out in just a few days, he’s optimistic they may break that record. In addition to ticket sales, Follies will accept contributions to SPS Performing Arts via donations through Venmo (@OSU-Follies) or via checks payable to FreshmanFollies, 211J Student Union, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078).
For fifty-one years, Follies has allowed OSU Students to light up the stage with singing, dancing and “cheesing.” Since the production’s inception under the name Freshman Follies, the show has included freshmen from the fraternity and sorority community, student organizations, and residence halls in the performance. However, as time passed, fraternity men and sorority women truly embraced the Follies tradition, and, beginning in 2009, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs took over the show’s advising role. Traditionally, Follies takes place on the uniquely shaped stage in the Student Union Little Theater. This year, the show was rebranded simply as Follies and expanded to allow any Greek New Member to participate, regardless of grade.