‘Unique magic:’ PIG Roast returns to form in 2024, nets $3,500 for nonprofit
An image from the 2024 Pie-A-PIG event
Erika Curka and Christian Santiago, both M2s, laugh during the Pie-A-PIG event that is part of the lead-up to the PIG Roast fundraiser.

The OUWB Pediatric Interest Group raised nearly $3,500 via its annual fundraiser to benefit Care House of Oakland County.

The Pediatric Interest Group (PIG) raised the money through several events leading up to and including its annual PIG Roast.

The roast was held on March 6 and in person for the first time since 2020 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic). More than 100 attended in person and online.

Ava Harvey, M2, president, PIG, said she was “thrilled” with the results of this year’s roast.

“It was an amazing success for multiple reasons,” she said.

“Not only did we exceed our fundraising goals, but we also managed to reignite the OUWB community spirit that comes with an in-person event. Seeing everyone come together to support such a crucial cause was truly inspiring.”

“Plus, it was so fun to host several OUWB students and faculty, Corewell Health faculty, and people affiliated with CareHouse of Oakland County,” she added.

Coordinator of this year’s roast was Amy Lin, M2.

Lin led a committee of about 20 who started work on the event late last summer. That’s because there are so many elements of the roast — as well as several events leading up to it — that must fall into place at the same time.

For example, there were “restaurant night” fundraisers at Chipotle, Panera Bread, and Blaze Pizza in the weeks before the roast. During these special nights, the restaurants donated a portion of their profits to Care House via PIG.

An image of students from the 2024 PIG Roast

From left, Amy Lin, Zeeshan Javed, Joey Solomon, and Ava Harvey during the 2024 PIG Roast. 

At the Pie-A-PIG event on March 4, students paid a small fee for the opportunity to smash a plate of whipped cream in the face of one of their peers or a faculty member.

“Penny Wars” allowed participating voters to put pennies in a jar representing faculty members. The winner was Tracey Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies, and assistant dean, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. That meant she had to be part of the roast. 

Other aspects of the fundraiser included a silent auction and — new this year — a volleyball tournament. Participants paid to enter the event held at Oakland University’s Recreation Center.

It all led up to the main event, which was the roast itself. It was held in person in O’Dowd Hall.

Hosts were M1 Zeeshan Javed and M2 Joey Solomon.

While attendees enjoyed fresh popcorn, sub sandwiches, and ice cream, the co-hosts introduced several skits throughout the evening, such as mean tweets, a news update similar in style to Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” segment, and more.

An image of students at the 2024 PIG Roast

The PIG Roast hosts interacted with audience members like Giuliano Romano throughout the event.  

One of the segments to get the most laughs made light of the noise just about everyone in O’Dowd Hall has had to endure during the building’s ongoing construction work.

Solomon said all the jokes were in the name of a good cause, which is why he wanted to be involved in roasting the event for the second year in a row. (Care House serves as the county’s only children’s advocacy center that aims to assist victims of child abuse.)

“I hosted last year's event,” he said. “Since then, I have volunteered at Care House during Martin Luther King Jr. Make a Difference Day, and I truly respect and support their mission. Hosting the PIG Roast is a way to support them and attract classmates to the event, spreading awareness about the cause.”

The fact that the roast was in person this year made it “10 times better,” he said.

“In talking with the representatives from Care House, they shared stories about the very first PIG Roasts, a tradition that started with the inaugural OUWB class,” said Solomon. “It felt good knowing that, this year, the PIG Roast took a step up, back to its former glory. It is an event that everyone wants to keep strong and promote for years to come.”

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Harvey echoed Solomon’s thoughts.

“After years of having the roast be virtual, being able to gather face-to-face once again created a sense of connection and unity that simply can’t be replicated online,” she said.

“It’s really something special to be immersed in a room full of laughter filled with people who share a common passion,” she added. “While the virtual format served its purpose during challenging times, there’s no denying the unique magic that comes with being physically present at the PIG Roast where there is a palpable sense of excitement in the air.”

In addition to being in person, Harvey said the success of the event can also be attributed to “the incredible dedication and hard work of everyone involved in organizing and executing the event.”

“From the acts, publicity, and finance committees to the volunteers who helped set up and run the various events, each individual played a crucial role in making the PIG Roast a success,” she said.

Christopher Carpenter, M.D., Stephan Sharf interim dean, attended the roast for the first time – and said he was “very impressed.”

“It’s such a great cause and impressive how they put everything together and involved so many people,” he said. “It was really a lot of fun.”

“I even got about half the jokes, which I was thinking would be closer to 20%,” he laughed.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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