Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU, fraternity weight loss event leads to more than $1,950 donation for local foodbank

March 10, 2011

As several Indiana State University students lugged more than 500 pounds of exercise weights in front of on-lookers, it was not an effort to lose weight.

It demonstrated how much weight was already lost.

More than 120 ISU students and staff members lost a combined 541.8 pounds in the Pounds for the Pantry charity event, which was co-sponsored by ISU Office of Recreational Sports and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. In the event, which started with a weigh-in on Jan. 18, Pi Kappa Alpha was to give 25 cents to the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank for every pound of weight program participants lost. But in addition to the weight presentation during the finale earlier this month, fraternity members had one more noteworthy presentation: they gave a check of $1,979 to the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, in honor of the founding year of the ISU chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha.

"I was totally blown away, totally shocked at the amount that they gave us," said Thomas Kuhl, director of the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, who accepted the check. "It was more than generous, in my opinion."

Program participants lost weight over the course of six weeks. It was an event created to help people stay active during the winter months, while also raising money for a charitable cause.

The awards ceremony recognized the individuals and groups that lost the most weight. The "Phat Girls" team, which had seven members who completed Pounds for the Pantry, lost more than 40 pounds and won the award for the participating team with the highest percentage of weight loss. The Union Board team won the award for student organizations; the 11-member team from the Office of Public Safety, which lost nearly 90 pounds, had the highest percentage of weight loss among teams representing ISU departments and offices.

Several ISU staff members received awards for losing the most weight. Lori Vancza had the highest percentage of weight loss to win first place, while Kelly Hall and Joe Maksyan finished second and third place, respectively.

The Public Safety team members were very supportive of each other, several of them said after the awards ceremony. The group even created a Facebook page to help provide support for each other, which included weight loss tips.

"That was a very good plan of our group, that we kind of kept each other in the loop, and gave each other helpful hints and websites," said Danielle Hoeppner, a graduate student from LaPorte, Ind., who was also a member of the Public Safety team.

Program participants who were part of a team were generally more successful in losing weight, said David Stowe, associate director for recreational sports at ISU. He said that, in repeating the event in the future, team participation may be more heavily emphasized.

"That's going to be the driving point to greater success," Stowe said. "That was quite apparent in the results."

Not everybody who initially signed up completed the program; 296 people initially weighed in to participate. Less than half that number actually finished. Stowe believes that a number of factors could have influenced the completion rate. While weekly classes were available to provide advice, people did not have to submit weekly updates. An ice storm in February also closed ISU for two days and kept many people homebound.

"The ice storm we had just really took the wind out of a lot of people's sails in terms of activity," Stowe said, "and they found themselves hibernating, just because of safety and other reasons."

Some people who participated in the program did not lose much weight; others gained weight as they toned muscle from the time they spent working out, Stowe said.

"It's real important that we're cautious about generalizing about weight gain, and should somebody have lost or not have lost weight," Stowe said. "It was just great to hear about those people who changed lifestyles."

Photo: (ISU/Tony Campbell)
Members of Pi Kappa Alpha place weights at the base of the stage to illustrate how much weight had been lost during Pounds for the Pantry, a six-week weight loss event that raised money for charity. Pi Kappa Alpha, one of the sponsors of the event, donated more than $1,950 to the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank.

Photo: (ISU/Tony Campbell)
Indiana State University student and Pi Kappa Alpha member Andre Brousseau; Thomas Kuhl, director of the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank; and ISU students and Pi Kappa Alpha members Ian Redman and Matt Folz pose during a check presentation ceremony. Pi Kappa Alpha donated more than $1,950 to the charitable organization in the finale celebration of the Pounds for the Pantry event.

Contact: David Stowe, associate director for recreational sports, Office of Recreational Sports, Indiana State University, 812-237-3915 or

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or