UNLV’s first Arab sorority Epsilon Alpha Sigma Holds Seventh Annual Remembering the Refugees Banquet

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Guests join in dancing after belly dancers pull them up one by one. Photo by Abbie Millman.

On April 13 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballrooms, UNLV’s chapter of its first Arab sorority, Epsilon Alpha Sigma, held its seventh annual Remembering the Refugees Banquet with the goal of raising money for the United Palestine Appeal (UPA). 

Lasting until 10 p.m., the event itinerary included president and vice president speeches, a philanthropy presentation, dinner service, live music, belly dancers, a fashion show, interactive activities and more.

Event tickets could be purchased in advance at $15 for outside guests, $10 for UNLV students and $5 for members of UNLV Greek Life. Other opportunities included opting to get henna art done, purchasing evil eye jewelry and participating in a raffle. 

As a nonreligious and nonpolitical organization, the goal of Epsilon Alpha Sigma (EAS) is to educate the community on the diversity of the globe and the impact empowered Arab women have on the immediate community as well as the rest of the world. 

With tensions in the Middle East growing stronger by the day, EAS made sure to educate their guests on the exigency of the Palestinian people struggling to find statehood, sovereignty and other basic rights.

EAS’s Director of Philanthropy Frida Ahued said, “A lot of people know about what’s going on, but they probably don’t have the deepest understanding of it. We just feel like this will hopefully have a lot of people gain more insight of what it is that’s going on.” 

With that in mind, Ahued pinpointed the main goal of the evening to be overall awareness on current global events concerning the Arab people while gaining the UPA more recognition.

Established in 1978, the UPA holds the mission of empowering Palestinians to better their lives and communities by socially responsible programs in health, education, community and economic development.

“Every year we have a banquet where we choose an organization that we fundraise for and this year we chose the United Palestinian Appeal. A lot of learning comes from it. We talk a lot about what we do, why we do it and how we can better that in the future,” said Ahued.

The event itself was supported by many sponsors, who were very willing to help after hearing the cause of the event including food establishments, small businesses and more. While the event was a success in terms of surpassing its fundraising goals of $8,000, it also succeeded in bringing together an array of organizations and families together for a fun time. 

“Every year we do something different. It’s the same concept but just different production. We really do put our all into it. We’re only seven active girls doing a full-scale production. We are very passionate about what we do, we do all the outreach for it. Being Director of Philanthropy, it’s very important for me, it’s a great event,” said Ahued.

After a night of much dancing, food and celebration, EAS looks forward to holding the tradition of their banquet for years to come.

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