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Pi Sigma Epsilon Give Back to the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County

Many alumni since the 1980s have fond memories of the Haunted Forest of Statesboro. Starting as a class project by Professor “Mouse” Blankenship on the campus of Georgia Southern University, students and Statesboro residents looked forward to experiencing the theme of that year’s most terrifying frights! Walking through dimly lit paths in the trees on campus while costumed “monsters” performed jump scares, made eerie noises, and gently led “victims” through the fog, “swamps,” “quicksand,” and sudden spooky light shows was a much-anticipated Halloween tradition until operations ceased when Blankenship retired in 2003. One alumna recalls the year Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre chased her down a path into a “sinkhole” before she was finally able to exit the forest, join the queue, and pay to do it all over again. Another tells the story of multiple Pennywise clowns maniacally grinning as she tried to maneuver in misting rain that made the dirt path even more slippery than was probably intended.

In 2009, community volunteers revived the tradition, which remained on campus until 2013 when it moved to The Clubhouse. When volunteers resurrected the Haunted Forest of Statesboro, they decided the proceeds should be shared between the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County and the Center for Addition Recovery (CAR). When the Forest moved to The Clubhouse, the Boys & Girls Club became the event’s sole beneficiary. The Haunted Forest is now the largest fundraiser each year for the Boys & Girls Club, helping the organization better serve the youth of the county.

The people power to operate the Haunted Forst each night comes from clients of Willingway Hospital and LeeLee’s Place, with a significant portion of resources and expertise coming from Jim Becker of Beck4 Properties and Alex Smith of Pride Pools and Spas. “Without our dedicated partners, the Haunted Forest would not be able to serve the community,” said Mike Jones, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County. “Our partners and volunteers who make the Haunted Forest possible, help raise the funds needed to keep the doors of the Club open to Bulloch County’s most in-need youth. I’m very grateful to those who give back their time, talent, and dollars to support this organization.”

Once, the Haunted Forest moved off campus and lost its affiliation with Georgia Southern, student engagement and participation waned. In April, Georgia Southern’s chapter of Pi Sigma Epsilon conducted on-campus research and discovered nearly 60% of the students had never heard of the Haunted Forest and nearly 83% had never attended, despite the fundraiser taking place less than a mile from campus. Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE) members saw great growth potential and decided to donate their time to this worthy cause.

The co-ed business fraternity joined Willingway in 2022 to help provide Statesboro and the student body of Georgia Southern University the same frights and thrills they’ve become accustomed to, but now in its new home at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fairgrounds. In addition to helping promote the Haunted Forest via digital media and through on-campus advertising, PSE members volunteered as actors, make-up artists, ticket-takers, and clean-up crew to help fill the 100+ needed each night to run the event. The 2022 Haunted Forest of Statesboro raised nearly $80,000, selling more than 5,700 tickets. The student body of Georgia Southern truly stepped up in a major way in 2022, having purchased more than 3,000 student tickets sold.

“The members of Pi Sigma Epsilon made good on a commitment with the Boys & Girls Club that started way back in February 2022,” explained Travis Brickey, Lecturer of Marketing from Georgia Southern’s Parker College of Business. “From the support of the GSU student body, to the Parker College of Business, to University Marketing, this was a collaborative effort that made the 2022 Haunted Forest of Statesboro so special and helped raise funds and awareness for a very worthy organization!”

To support the Boys & Girls Club of Bulloch County visit


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