On Sunday morning, students, staff and parents gathered in Uptown Park to commemorate the life of former Miami student and Delta Sigma Pi president, Michael Hayes. The mass of purple shirts huddled together and created an atmosphere of camaraderie along High Street. The sun radiated, combating the brisk wind, while the warm feelings of the Delta Sigma Pi family flooded the air.
Since Hayes' passing 14 years ago, Delta Sigma Pi (Delta Sig) has held a 5k run/walk in his honor every spring. Funds raised by the event go towards the Hayes Foundation, which provides scholarships for students at Miami who are battling life threatening illnesses. This year alone, over $6,000 will be added to the fund. The tradition is beloved amongst the Delta Sig brothers, and the greater community.
Vice President of Service for Delta Sig, Ali Stall, organized the entire event this year, gathering support from sponsors and forming a committee to help fundraise. Stall has put in close to 100 hours of work since October to ensure that the Michael Hayes 5k would be a success.
"I think that the Oxford community really likes to rally around student organizations, especially when it's for such an amazing cause that can help a Miami student," Stall said.
Current president of Delta Sig, Brayden Bennell, said he was grateful for the ample support that the Hayes Race received within the Oxford community. High Street businesses, including Jimmy John's, The Apple Tree, SoHi and many others, sponsored the event by donating money for t-shirts, raffle prizes and Insomnia cookies.
"This is a very important cause to sponsor due to the nature of where our donor's gifts go," Bennell said. "The Miami community and the companies that work closely with us are some of the most giving individuals I've ever worked with."
And while many attend the event to remember Michael Hayes and his positive impact on Miami, the event does much more than just honor this one student.
"Many of us don't know what each other are going through on a day to day basis," Bennell said. "There are students on this campus that suffer from threatening illnesses, diseases and debilitations that make it more difficult to just continue their studies and enjoy their time here on Miami's campus."
The winner of the 5k, Michael Stemler, echoed this sentiment. He was thrilled to be a part of such a special event for his fraternity and community, even if it left his lungs screaming afterward.
"It's really great to be able to come out support this cause, and do something that's greater than our chapter alone for the whole Miami community," Stemler said. "This was a very painful race, but it was a good time for a good cause."
Delta Sig honors Hayes' memory through the annual 5k, yet they strive to honor his legacy everyday by fulfilling his aspirations to make an impact on everything associated with Miami.
"We want to help students and families in need here at Miami," Bennell said. "And we feel that this event, in honor of one of our brothers that passed on, can simply help address that in small but mighty ways."
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