Out of the frying pan and into the Shark Tank


A group shot of the presenters receiving their “big checks” at the Shark Tank.

Amanda Ebner, Contributor

Update (2/22/2019): Our original reporting contained errors involving dollar amounts and proper names of organizations. These have been updated and we apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

MOON TOWNSHIP — On Feb. 20, 2019, seven student organizations gave presentations to the Student Government Association in a “Shark Tank” format for a chance to win up to $7,000 for their clubs plans. The participants this year included Phi Mu Delta, Delta Tau Delta, Top Secret Colonials, Phi Sigma Pi, the Society for Advancement of Management, Zeta Tau Alpha and the Criminal Justice Society.

The judges consisted of four Robert Morris University staff members and the SGA’s executive board. The board acted as just one judge, giving each team a score that represented the scoring of five judges.

“This was a very successful event,” Zaithwa Gwaza, secretary of Student Government Association, said. “I think seeing that seven clubs registered to do this was very good because it means that people have ideas, and obviously, that is one thing that we at SGA want: people to have ideas to bring this community together.”

The competitors had twelve minutes to present their pitches to the judges and explain how they would use the “Shark Tank” prize. After their initial proposal, each team also underwent a question and answer session with the judges and were given a private score based on their knowledge of the topic.

Jerrod Jacobs, who represented the honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi, presented the group’s case for having their “Dunk-A-Colonial” event funded.

“My experience with Shark Tank so far has been pretty good,” Jacobs said. “I thought we killed it up there.”

After all the presentations, the judges eliminated two of the teams. The five remaining teams were invited onto the stage to answer one last round of questions.

At the end of the night, the Top Secret Colonials were awarded $1,000 for their “Can’t Stop Me From Laughing” event. Delta Tau Delta and Phi Sigma Pi were each awarded $1,000 for their projects. The Criminal Justice Society given $1,075 for their “Black and Blue Gala,” and Phi Mu Delta was granted $3,000 to help stage a dance marathon.

RMU clubs weren’t the only winners. The “Dunk-A-Colonial” event is intended to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House and Phi Mu Delta plans on using their dance marathon to raise money for St. Jude’s Hospital.

While the event was successful, the SGA hopes to have more pitches for the “Shark Tank” next year, which means they need to start the planning sooner.

“(We need to) promote it earlier,” Gwaza said. “As of last week, we only had one group, so we had to push it so much within two days to get people to sign up.”