Sigma Chi Derby Days: A week-long fundraising event that raises money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation

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By Mattysen Short, Correspondent

“Men join fraternities. Leaders of men join Sigma Chi” -American Actor John Wayne

John Wayne made an incredible claim about the type of men in Sigma Chi and the men of Sigma Chi at Embry-Riddle Prescott encompass that claim well.

According to the official Sigma Chi website, Sigma Chi was founded in 1855 by seven students at Miami University in Oxford, OH. According to Sigma Chi, those seven students believed that a “principle-driven lifestyle should be paramount in an individual’s lifelong quest to achieve progressive development, and that the world in which they lived had a great need for ethical leaders whose core principles were based on the possession of remarkable character” and those “seven young men set the foundation for a lifelong course of development that has since provided more than 300,000 men with the structure to understand how to make a positive influence on the world.”

Since 2005, Sigma Chi as a whole has contributed over 14 million dollars to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF). The Huntsman Cancer Foundation was named as Sigma Chi’s sole preferred philanthropic partner in 2012. In 2021 alone, Sigma Chi contributed over 2.3 million dollars to the HCF.

According to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation’s official website, the main mission of HCF is to “guarantee the future of cutting-edge research” at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah by funding “new clinical trials, safer and more effective treatments, and hope for an end to cancer.”

A lot of the brothers in Sigma Chi at Embry-Riddle Prescott have a very personal reason that motivates their efforts in raising money for HCF. Logan Hill, Chairman of Derby Days says “It is unfortunate that cancer affects so many of us but since that does happen, I think a lot of the guys are able to be passionate about it and find a personal reason to try and put in a good amount of effort.”

Hill, who started planning this event in May of last year, says,“Unfortunately, one of my mom’s really close friends passed away about five years ago and she had a long and difficult battle with cancer so for me, the whole reason I took this position is just to give back and try and continue to be a part of the generation to end cancer.”

“I’ve been part of Sigma Chi for many years and I do have some family members that have had to deal with cancer, so it’s something that’s close to my heart, I think it’s close to everyone’s heart, I feel like most people know at least one person that has had to go through something related to cancer and it’s something that we all think about and it’s something that we don’t want to have to worry about anymore,” says Sigma Chi President Ryan Samara “in 30 years, I don’t want it to be an issue anymore so to be able to raise money to help eradicate it is great.”

“It’s something that’s really special to be a part of, my best friend back home, his mom has cancer in her stomach right now so it’s something that I’m really passionate about in the sense that I really want to beat this illness,” says brother Matt Sparling. He continues, “I’d be scared to death if my mom ever got breast cancer, I don’t know what I’d be without my mom. It’s something that a lot of families have to go through and it’s awesome that we are the generation that can end cancer.”

“I think the biggest thing about Huntsman is there’s so many people that struggle with cancer around the world that it’s not really a small problem,” says brother Jackson Pollock, going on to say, “I think the ability for us to [raise money for HCF] really makes our chapter special to be able to give back to the community like that.”

The international Sigma Chi fraternity annually hosts a week-long charity fundraising event called Derby Days to raise money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. Derby Days is a competition between teams representing the different sororities on campus to raise as much money as possible through a series of events.

The Kappa Phi chapter of Sigma Chi was founded at Embry-Riddle Prescott in 2005. The Sigma Chi brothers at Embry-Riddle Prescott participate in Derby Days every year and raise money for HCF year round. During the 2021-2022 academic year, Sigma Chi at Embry-Riddle Prescott has raised over six thousand dollars for HCF. Derby Days this year was held from March 27, 2022 to March 31, 2022.

There were four teams competing on campus this week, representing three different sororities, as well as a team from Sigma Chi that was used to stir up some more competition. Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, and Alpha Sigma Tau were the sororities participating.

There were six events held over the course of five days including an email-a-thon, dollar war, sign a sig day, trivia night, bake sale, and casino night.

The email-a-thon was conducted before the Derby Days kickoff event and information packets surrounding HCF were given to the teams. The objective was to email as many friends and family members about the organization to raise awareness as possible. Alpha Xi Delta won the email-a-thon by sending out the most emails and raising the most awareness.

Sign a Sig was an event where Sigma Chi members were wearing white shirts and team members would pay $1 to sign those white shirts. If enough signatures were obtained by one team on any shirt, then that shirt could be bought by the team for $5. Delta Phi Epsilon won Sign a Sig.

Trivia night was hosted at The County Seat in downtown Prescott. The team who answered the most trivia questions won the event and a part of The County Seat’s overall earnings for the night were added to the total amount of money raised for the week. The trivia questions were mainly random trivia, but there were also questions about Sigma Chi and HCF included. Alpha Xi Delta won trivia night.

The bake sale was hosted on March 30 in front of the student union. All of the participating teams contributed baked goods to sell. Delta Phi Epsilon made the most money from the bake sale.

Casino night was hosted on the last night of Derby Days, in the student union. Teams got points by winning casino games and having players come out to represent the teams. Alpha Xi Delta won the casino night.

Dollar wars was an event that took place throughout the whole week. Teams had water jugs and every dollar in the jug positively impacted the team, but coin amounts negatively impacted the teams. Delta Phi Epsilon won dollar wars.

After a week of back and forth wins between Alpha Xi Delta and Delta Phi Epsilon, the winning of Delta Phi Epsilon in dollar wars gave them a small edge over Alpha Xi Delta. Because of this, Delta Phi Epsilon won the entire week. A total of $2,100 was raised over the week.

Sigma Chi is very thankful for the participation of all of the teams in this year’s Derby Days and will continue to raise money for HCF for the remainder of the year with hopes of raising a total of $10,000.

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