Sigma Chi members were busy last week lip-syncing, getting pies to the face and blowing up balloons, all for their annual Derby Days philanthropy week on campus.
All proceeds made throughout the week will be donated to the fraternity’s national philanthropy, the Children’s Miracle Network. CMN Hospitals are non-profit organizations that provide health care to children regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
Derby Days, started at UC Berkeley, is an event all Sig Chi chapters across the country put on at their campuses. The theme varies from chapter to chapter and from year to year, and OWU Sig Chis chose “Kentucky Derby Days” for 2012.
Senior Aiden Senner, a member of Sig Chi, said the event was open to anyone who wanted to create a team and participate in funny events throughout the week. He said it was a fun way to donate money to charity.
Senior Sam Newman, Derby Days chairman, said this year’s event raised more money than it has in several years.
“We raised $3,100 dollars this year, which is the largest amount I have heard our chapter raise in many years,” he said.
Junior Anthony McGuire, president of Sig Chi, said this year’s Derby Days had the largest attendance in his three years at OWU.
Eight teams of six or more members signed up to participate in the various events this year: Phi Kappa Psi, StretchMansion, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Team GDI.
Newman said all eight teams that had originally signed up made it through the tough competition to the end of the week.
Many events occurred throughout the week both on campus in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, the JAYwalk and outside of the Sigma Chi fraternity house. Several events were week-long, and occurred during the lunch hour.
Each team competed for the most points through Penny Wars, bake sales and Derby Days t-shirt purchases.
“For these events each group tabled a day throughout the week and sold baked goods to benefit the cause,” said junior Newt Kimberly, a Sig Chi member.
Newman said Tri-Delt won all of those events.
Monday afternoon in the Benes Rooms, teams participated in Buy-a-Sig, where Sig Chis were auctioned off to the highest bidder. The Sig Chis weren’t bought for dates, however.
Newman said teams bought their “Derby Daddy” who went on to perform with them at Thursday’s “Sigma Sync Talent Show,” an event he said was successful and had many attendees.
Also on Monday was a banner-making contest, a competition Kappa won.
Tuesday night the Sig Chis hosted a car wash, charging $5 per car, with a free cookout for all who were interested and hungry.
An event Wednesday encouraged team members to “Sign-a-Sig,” earning points for every signature on the Sig Chis’ white t-shirts.
Newman said Sign-a-Sig was also successful.
“Team members chased brothers around all day signing their shirts for points,” he said. “Delta Delta Delta won this as well.”
Popular late-night food hotspot, Dan’s Deli, made its appearance outside of the fraternity house to offer meals to students later that night as well.
Newman said the brothers donated a portion of their profits from Dan’s Deli to the cause.
Thursday night’s “Sigma Sync Talent Show” pitted team against team in lip sync competition in Bishop Café. Newman said, like all of the previous events, this was a success as well.
“There were a lot of people there and all the dances were hilarious,” he said. “Teams were encouraged to dress their ‘Derby Daddies’ up in costumes.
“This ranged from Delta Zeta’s cowboy themed dance to bros in drag and ending up with less clothes on than when they started.”
Newman said Team GDI took this event with their excellent song mix, costumes, and relevance to Sig Chi.
Finally on Friday, Sig Chis took to the JAYwalk during the lunch hour with their event “Pie-a-Sig,” where both team and non-team members could pay a dollar to shove a plateful of whipped cream into a Sig Chi of their choice.
McGuire said the only problem was that they ran out of “pies” relatively quickly while there was still a lot of demand and interest in buying more.
Newman said it was great Spring Fever was the same day because it brought them more positive attention, even though it wasn’t purposefully planned that way.
“I definitely think we had more participation because it was Spring Fever at the same time,” he said.
“I think having it on the same day as Spring Fever Day for sure helped us sell more pies,” he said.
Tri-Delt earned a win in this event by getting the most points—that is, covering the most Sig Chi faces with pie.
A gourmet-cookout at their house was offered to campus for $5.
Newman said the Gourmet Cook-out was a great event and had a solid number of people at the event for the duration.
“Our House Father, Jeff Wychoff, orchestrated a delicious meal of grilled lamb legs, grilled chicken and vegetable kebabs, green beans with a vinaigrette glaze, and potatoes,” he said.
The week-long derby ended with the “House of Balloons” dance party at the fraternity house. The registered, alcohol-free party included music, dancing and a house stuffed with thousands of balloons.
It was also the last chance for teams to get points; members and friends of the team could sign in under a team name between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. The team with the most “attendees” earned extra points to its final score.
“We blew up 3200 balloons and we raised money at the door through a donation box,” Senner said.
McGuire said “House of Balloons” was an idea the house had been thinking about for a while.
“The inspiration came from a musical group a lot of us at Sigma Chi enjoy, the Weeknd,” he said. “The Weeknd came out with a mix-tape called ‘House of Balloons’ that a lot of us listen to, and we thought it would be a great idea to actually have a house full of balloons.”
Newman said the balloons were half helium and half regular air so there were balloons everywhere.
He said they associated with Cook’s Balloonery in Westerville, and the Balloonery ended up donating a significant number of balloons because it was for charity.
“Though I truly believe that it was a house of balloons, we now know the logistics of this type of party so that next year it can be even better,” said Newman. “We are thinking more along the lines of 5000 balloons.”
Newman said the brothers intend “House of Balloons” to be an annual event at the end of Derby Days.
McGuire said they announced the winners at midnight during the dance party. He said that was a really great way for people to get excited and have a fun time.
“Tri-Delt won Derby Days in the end, but I would like to think that the children are the ultimate winners.”