When most college graduates look back over their past four (or more) years, many say their best memories were the ones they never expected to occur. Whether it be a weekend formal or a night full of debauchery, the stories that stick close to us are those we never anticipated.
Personally, I already know my highlight memory: my unexpected night with Waka Flocka Flame.
When I was elected the philanthropy chair at my fraternity last May, I knew I wanted to take our annual Derby Days event to the next level. My goal was to not only double our donations, but to also boost participation throughout the Derby Week. Along with my co-chair, Nels Pamela Haugen III, the two of us brought numerous ideas, hopes, and dreams to the Perkins table we would sit at until 1 or 2 in the morning - bottomless pancakes after midnight, talk about a turn-up - slowly planning our events and concert.
After five long months of hard work and preparation, Derby Week was finally among us in early October. Day by day, sororities competed and raced to the finish line to become Sigma Chi’s Derby darlings. Finally, at the end of the week, it was time to make last minute preparations for the next day’s concert. Nels and I retreated to my room, where we started delegating tasks such as building the stage and setting up fencing.
As soon as I started allocating concert necessities, I received a phone call from our concert coordinator. What I expected to be a calm conversation about the concert quickly turned into the unexpected. I was told that one of the headliners, Waka Flocka Flame, flew into Minneapolis a day early and was looking for something to do the night before our big show.
Instantly, Nels and I sprinted down from my room on the third floor of Sigma Chi and headed straight to the main floor, where we started cleaning the space. Attempting to make the room somewhat presentable for any human being, let alone a celebrity, we cleaned the house as quickly as possible.
As people gathered and not so patiently waited for Flocka, I finally received a phone call from an unknown Georgia number. I picked up the phone and said, "Hello?" A deep voice on other end responded, introducing himself as Waka Flocka Flame and told me he was outside our fraternity house. As nervous as Nels in a weight room, I headed to the parking lot to welcome our concert's headliner into our house.
To my surprise, Flocka was incredibly kind and personable throughout the night. I was impressed with his drive and dedication of pleasing his fans - and I was astonished by his size. Many people had warned me about this; however, I was still unprepared when a lifelike Hagrid put his arm around Nels and I, asking his manager next to him for a picture of the three of us #BigHomieFlock. He even complimented me on my new kicks, which in his words were “straight feugo” (Spãnish for fire).
The night continued as Flocka greeted more of his fans as well as discussing what we were expecting from him the following night at the show. We chatted about his music, both old and new, and even listened to some of his soon-to-be-released upcoming album.
The next night, Flocka put on an extraordinary show, helping our chapter raise over $27,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network. If it weren’t for his fans constantly asking for pictures and autographs, you would have never known that he was a celebrity. While we saw Flocka as the “turn-up god,” he treated us as equals. His ability to see and treat us college students like friends of his own will continue to amaze me. He is not blinded by his money or his fame, but instead thankful for the support he receives from ordinary and everyday people.
This experience will definitely be one I take away from my time here at the U. It would not have been possible without the help and support of my chapter and our greater Greek Community. On behalf of Nels and myself, along with the rest of Sigma Chi, we thank those of you who contributed to making this event everything it was, and we look forward to supporting other Greek organizations that continuously contribute so much to our campus and community.