By Jess Decina
Sophomore Salvatore Brucculeri wasn’t even sure he wanted to pledge a fraternity when he came to college. In fact, when the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEP) handed him a bid last spring, he didn’t accept it right away.
“I was against it until the day before Bid Day,” he said. “I talked to my parents who said, ‘Go for it.’ I went for it and I’ve never looked back.”
Once a reluctant pledge, Brucculeri now serves as the fund-raising chair for AEP’s minor board and has been planning AEP’s first ever brother auction, which will take place Tuesday.
“We were all passing around ideas and we were thinking [about] what’s been successful for other clubs at school,” he said. “We’ve been to a couple of auctions because a couple of the brothers are on the hockey team. We were like, ‘Let’s just have an AEPi auction.’ It started off as a joke.”
But what began as a humorous suggestion soon became a serious venture. Twenty-six brothers, including one alumnus, have been recruited for the auction. The event will be split into two parts: a meet-and-greet and the auction, Brucculeri said.
“People that are going to bid can get to know a couple of the brothers,” he said. “Say they don’t know them or are too shy to bid on them. It’s a way to meet and greet us, talk to us and decide who they want to bid on prior to the event.”
Each brother will have a starting bid of $10. Proceeds from the bids will go toward AEP’s next date night, which the auction winners will attend with whoever is auctioned to them. However, the event is not all about funding a date night; part of the evening’s funds will be donated to charity.
“That’s going to go to the donations that we have for our brother Nick Costa,” Brucculeri said. “In his memory, it’s going to the N.J. Special Olympics.”
Costa, a junior entrepreneurial business major, died last semester from injuries sustained in a car crash. To Brucculeri and many others, he was known as “the one to make you laugh.”
Brucculeri recalled his favorite memory of Costa, a story that was told at Costa’s memorial service.
“One day we were crossing the bridge coming back from Daly’s and there was a whole bunch of ducks,” Brucculeri said. “And he started walking around like a duck and quacking like a duck at them. They quacked at him and walked away and he turned to us and said, ‘Oh, they speak a different dialect.’ We were hysterical.”
Brucculeri didn’t know Costa for very long, but felt it was important to raise money in his name.
“I didn’t know him well until mid-last semester,” he said. “Everyone has their cliques in a fraternity and I happened to fall into his. He was the kind of kid who would just take the shirt off his back to give to you.”
Fundraising for a good cause might not seem typical of a fraternity, but Brucculeri hopes that this event will break that notion. In fact, the fraternity participates regularly in community service events.
“People don’t usually see the good in fraternities,” he said. “A lot of people stereotype us as partiers; we’re more than that. We’re a group of guys that are together for a reason: We stand for the same causes.”
The AEP brother auction will take place Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 9:30 p.m. in the BLC Theater. Bidding paddles cost $5 and minimum bids start at $10.