Fraternity combines fright with philanthropy in Gorevile Manor

Gorevile Manor is located at 203 Ash Ave. and will be open from 7 p.m. to midnight  Thursday through Saturday. The undead men of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity will perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” every hour with witch hangings and a choreographed dance. There will be $5 entry fee. 

Mary-Kate Burkert

ISU students and the Ames community can test their bravery while being philanthropic at Lambda Chi Alpha’s annual Gorevile Manor haunted house from 7 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday at 203 Ash Ave. Tickets will be sold at the door for $5 and all proceeds go to ChildServe, a convalescent home that helps families with disabled children in Johnston.

“The Gorevile project was created in the late ’70s and was originally set up in a church gym with hanging sheets. Since then, it has relocated to our actual house featuring a working drawbridge, moat, gallows and five skit rooms every year,” said Brad Drennan, co-chairman of the philanthropy and junior in history. “Also, every hour on the hour, we have a mock witch hanging.”

The construction of Gorevile Manor is time consuming but significant, said Nick Studer, co-chairman and junior in interdisciplinary studies and psychology.

“Each room is generally headed by one person that has an idea of what they would want to use to creep out or scare people; this year I had been brainstorming ideas for the maze two weeks prior to building and then started heading up a small skit room incorporating the boiler room,” Studer said. “This will be a surprise for the people going through.”

Besides the shrieks and squeals, Gorevile Manor hopes to raise funds and awareness for a commendable cause. In the past, Mary Greeley Medical Center was the benefactor of the event, but in the 1980s the focus switched to ChildServe.

“To date, we have raised over $99,000. This year we are hoping to break the $100,000 milestone,” said Sean Van Osdale, president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. “The money that we raise buys wheelchairs, funds events, supports physical therapy sessions and takes care of the children’s specific needs. This allows them to not worry about struggling to overcome something; rather it lets them have that covered so they can focus on what’s really important — being a kid.”

The event also give members of the fraternity a deeper idea of what children at ChildServe go through.

“An element of the partnership [Lambda Chi Alpha and ChildServe has] includes us making a trip to Johnston to participate in their ‘Welcome to our World’ program where the guys get a feel for what it is like to have a disability of sorts, and how it affects a person’s everyday routine,” Drennen said.

“This leads into the building phase of Gorevile and gives us the motivation to turn our house into a castle every year and forgo lawn displays [during Homecoming week]. This event is special to us because it sets us apart from most of the philanthropies on campus and really brings the guys together for a full month of ‘guy stuff’ and getting our hands dirty.”

Many Lambda Alpha Chi fraternity members agree that setting aside Halloween party plans and instead supporting ChildServe is well worth it.

“While participating in Gorevile, our members exemplify our seven core values, the most apparent being service and stewardship,” Drennan said. “They also get to take part in random zombie invasions on Central Campus, along with impromptu Thriller renditions.”