Sigma Chi recently hosted their annual week-long philanthropy fundraiser, otherwise known as “Derby Days.” The fundraising events were held starting on Oct. 21 and ran through Oct. 25.
Derby Days started in 1933 with Sigma Chi’s Alpha Beta chapter at the University of California Berkley as a series of skits done by active brothers. Since then, it has slowly been adopted nationally.
Sigma Chi hosts Derby Days in support of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, which was adopted as their national philanthropy after being founded by Sigma Chi, Jon Huntsman. The fraternity currently holds a national pledge of $20 million to be donated to Huntsman towards women’s cancer research.
“Personally, I think cancer is something that effects everyone, and it’s important to the Sigs at Alma to be the generation that ends cancer,” said Sam Lindeman (‘20).
This year’s events included a hat decorating event for a local cancer research center. Students attended and decorated winter hats for cancer patients in anticipation of the colder season.
The other events were a cornhole tournament, a trivia night at Highland Blush, a banquet, a mini golf tournament held across campus and a bowling event in Ithaca.
There were also week-long individual fundraising incentives, such as Shave-a-Sig, where brothers set a personal fundraising goal and agreed to shave their head upon reaching that goal. Every night of the week, people that donated would gather at the Sigma Chi house to celebrate the brothers that had met their fundraising goals.
Sigma Chi also had a trailer parked on the lawn of their house displaying cans that were donated to their annual can drive.
Along with on-campus support, several local businesses offered support to Sigma Chi.
“[Sigma Chi’s Philanthropy] is extremely important to me because cancer has taken family members and friends, from not just me, but everyone,” said Connor Hart (‘21).
The fraternity gives an incentive to their fundraiser by making it a competition between other Greek life organizations. The organizations receive points based on attendance at events, the penny wars held in Saga (Hamilton Commons) and other various tasks throughout the week.
The organization that receives the most points wins a prize, varying from campus to campus. “For our campus, we have a rotating trophy that has the names of previous winning organizations, and this year we added a $150 prize to be donated to the winning organizations charity of choice,” said George Murphy (‘20).
The organizations that participated in this year’s Derby Days were Kappa Iota, Alpha Xi Delta, Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Sigma Sigma. This year’s winning organization was Kappa Iota.
“We typically don’t participate in Derby Days, but we appreciated how much effort the brothers put in this year to revamp it,” said Rose Cyburt (‘20). “It was more inclusive, less competitive and just fun!”
Kappa Iota donated their prize money to their philanthropy RISE, a women’s shelter located in Mount Pleasant.
“I would like to add a special thanks to all organizations that participated,” said Murphy. “With their help, we raised over $2,700 for Huntsman Cancer Institute!”
Students or faculty interested in individually supporting Huntsman Cancer Institute can make donations over phone, by mail or on their website.