The undergraduate chapter at the University of Maryland referred to its past to help the chapter’s Derby Days weeklong philanthropic event succeed in the present.
In only its second Derby Days event since its reinstallation on Sept. 27, 2009, the Maryland undergraduate chapter reportedly raised more than $30,000 from Oct. 1–6, 2012, to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, with the final total still being tallied.
The undergraduate chapter turned to Alumni Advisor Chris Kennedy, MARYLAND 1985, for help after he organized his chapter’s Derby Days event in the early 1980s. His guidance along with that of 2012 Derby Days Chairman Peter Buas, 2013, helped the growing chapter succeed in its event.
“For this year, it could be their biggest success,” says Order of Constantine Sig and Chapter Advisor Scott Werber, MARYLAND 1986. “Since their reinstallation, they have done a lot of things, but this is something they could hang their hat on. I am very proud of what they were able to accomplish.”
Turning Derby Days into a competition between 14 university sororities and women’s fraternities helped raise a bulk of the money. The Maryland Sigs got a little help from the Alpha Xi Delta women’s fraternity’s colony on campus, as one of its members is the daughter of Rich Thometz, MARYLAND and IDAHO 1986. The colony competed well in competitions, which included a banner decorating contest, a penny wars change competition and a Slip ‘N Slide race. The Alpha Chi Omega women’s fraternity also performed well during the week, Werber says.
Real-time fundraising totals were posted online, so the sororities and women’s fraternities were able to track the results and amp up their participation each day. Last year, the chapter donated $10,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This year, the chapter possibly tripled that total.
“They got enough publicity for the first Derby Days last year and people had fun, and that enabled the guys to excel this year,” Werber says. “They really built a solid foundation for success.”
Have a good idea for a philanthropic event? Let Sigma Chi International Fraternity Headquarters know about it. Contact Director of Chapter Support Blake Rus, SOUTH FLORIDA 2009, at (847) 869-3655, ext. 229, or blake.rus@sigmachi.org, with any ideas.