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And they're off! Sigma Chi Alpha holds annual Derby Days Fundraiser, raises over $20,000

Laughter and cheers filled the air at Millet Field on Wednesday, April 17. The afternoon marked day three of Sigma Chi Alpha's Olympic Games-themed second annual Derby Days Fundraiser.

The week began on Sunday, April 14, with the opening ceremonies and wrapped up on Thursday, April 18th with the closing ceremonies. Donations were taken until Sunday, April 20. Sigma Chi philanthropy chair, junior Jacob Smith, and Derby Days Chairs, sophomores Jack Lipovich and Davis Kurz, planned the week's events.

Beginning with the Sigma Chi Alpha chapter at the University of California, Berkeley in 1922, the Derby Days event spread to Sigma Chi chapters nationwide. By the 1960s, Derby Days raised funds for different charities.

In order to participate in the events, sororities donate money to the charities chosen by the fraternity. In 2012, Sigma Chi declared the Huntsman Cancer Foundation as their main charity. According to the foundation's mission statement, donations go toward treatment and a better understanding of cancer, so that facilities can improve the quality of life for patients and survivors of cancer and their loved ones.

After donating their entry fees, 12 Miami sororities participated in the Olympic-styled events. They included a dodgeball tournament on Monday, a jousting tournament on Tuesday and the chariot race on Wednesday.

"I love participating in other philanthropies," said sophomore and Kappa Alpha Theta philanthropy chair Amanda Nelson. "It provides more opportunities for all of Greek life to come together for a good cause."

Sophomore Hanna Israel, a member of Phi Mu, said she enjoys Derby Days because it brings her sorority together.

"It's a fun thing to do with our sisters and we get to support the whole Greek community," Israel said. "It's a fun thing to do outside when it gets warmer."

Miami's Sigma Chi Alpha chapter began participating in Derby Days events last year and raised $13,000. This year, the chapter raised over $20,000, which earned them a brick with the Sigma Chi Alpha insignia and their winning year, 2019, on it at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.

"I'm really proud of the Derby Days event because we raised $20,000, which is huge for our fraternity," Smith said.

In the chariot race, sorority members raced each other while riding in boxes on tarps. Two Sigma Chi Alpha fraternity brothers pulled each tarp, which each represented different sororities.

First-year Caleigh McNeil, a member of Delta Zeta, enjoyed the race.

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"It was pretty fun actually. I'd do it again," McNeil said

After the chariot races, Sigma Chi members and the sororities went across the street to the fraternity house to participate in the Dunk-A-Sig, the dunk tank activity. Participants had time to socialize, listen to music and dunk a fraternity member in a bucket of water.

Fraternity brothers took turns taking a seat on the dunking bench, and participants paid two dollars for three balls and three dollars for five balls to attempt to soak the "Sig" brother.

After having been dunked in the booth first-year, Ben Skaggs was itching to get dunked again.

"For the cause of this, I'd go in as many times as I'd have to," he said. "As long as we keep raising money for it."

The Zeta Tau Alpha sorority won Derby Days, and the total amount of money raised was $28,129.