37th annual Casino Night high rollers net United Way $700



A moment from this year’s Casino Night inspiration, “The Great Gatsby”

Johnson State College raised $700 for United Way of Lamoille County during the 37th Annual Casino Night on Friday, March 14. The theme for the night was “The Great Gatsby,” and students donned their 20s garb to gamble for a cause.

Casino Night is designed to help raise money for United Way, an organization dedicated to building a stronger and healthier community for local residents, according to its official website.

“[In the past] we have seen donations between $500 and $1000, so this is pretty average” said Director of Student Activities and Community Service Krista Swahn in an email interview.

Dealers for the night included Professor of Mathematics Julie Theoret, Senior Associate Director of Admissions Patrick Rogers, Director of Public Safety Micheal Palagonia, and all members of JSC’s Student Government Association. Two members of United Way also spent the evening wheeling and dealing: Jodi Tallman and Robert Titterton. All of these dealers volunteered for the position, and each had a reason for doing so.

“I volunteered because I enjoy helping the JSC students with this important fundraising event for the United Way,” said Rogers in an email interview.

Theoret has been working at Casino Nights for years now; in fact she started when she was a faculty member at Lyndon State College from 2000 to 2008. When she heard about JSC’s Casino Nights, she immediately expressed interest.

“I ended up running the Roulette table, which I have now done for six years straight,” said Theoret in an email interview. “The Roulette table is a bit ‘mathy,’ so I don’t think it is a popular draw for other volunteer dealers. You can think of all the payouts as relating to factors of 36, so of course I love it. It is for a great cause, and it is really a fun night. In addition, I love seeing the students get all dressed up.”

The SGA works to organize and fundraise for the event. In fact, preparations began in January, when the organization started talking to businesses and purchasing decorations.

“It’s an ongoing process throughout the whole year,” said SGA Senator Michael Harris. “We know it is going to happen, and it’s always in the back of our minds.”

The college and Sodexo both donated to the night, as well as many local restaurants, according to Harris.

“[I’d like to] give a special thanks to all the people who donated,” said Harris. “We had a lot of donations from a lot of different businesses. It was nice to see all the support in the community.”

All donations that United Way receive goes towards, and stays in, Lamoille County. Priority is given to programs that help local people walk towards a path to self-sufficiency, according to its website at www.uwlamoille.org. United Way funds a variety of programs with these goals in mind, including the Lamoille Family Center, the Home Health and Hospice program, as well as the local Meals on Wheels.