Sigma Chi's Derby Days raises $23,000 for cancer research

Cheboygan junior Makenzie Webber does her "grandpa's" makeup during the talent portion of the beauty pageant on Nov. 7 at the Broadway Theater.

The Zeta Rho chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity raised a total of $23,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute during its annual Derby Days events from Nov. 6-10. 

The week-long series of events to fundraise for The Huntsman Cancer Institute is held each fall. Sororities performed in a pageant, gave Sigma Chi members haircuts and completed challenges like the Derby Hunt where Olympic Rings were hidden across campus. 

"(Derby Days) has grown in popularity over the last three years, predominantly with the sororities on campus,” said Sigma Chi president Mike Maher. "The end goal is to raise money for cancer research and educate others on how widespread its grasp is. It’s an added benefit that we can accomplish these goals in a creative way that is fun for everyone involved.” 

Warren Juniors, Kennedy Wojno and Jacob Ritchie participate in raising money by shaving heads for The Huntsman Cancer Institute on Nov. 6 in the Sigma Chi house.

To increase support and competition among sororities, the fraternity established a point system for each day. 

For example, three weeks before the Derby Days events started, the fraternity made shirts available to the sororities to purchase for $25. Sorority members were encouraged to buy shirts to start off the week with 500 points as the reward for most percentage purchased. During the Tag A Sig Chi event, they earned more points if they were wearing their Derby Days shirts. 

"To me, it means so much that we are able to participate,” said Anjali Raniga of Delta Zeta, the sorority that scored the most points during Derby Days. "The week of Derby Days is a super fun week of events that not only brings everybody within my chapter together, but it brings everybody in the Greek community together to raise money for a great cause."

Participants in the Derby Days pageant stand to answer questions on Nov. 7 at the Broadway Theatre. 

The Huntsman Cancer Institute partners with every Sigma Chi Chapter across the country. The Central Michigan University chapter reached its goal of raising more than $20,000 and the institute awarded them with the 20k Club Award. 

"Each donation from every chapter helps us work toward a group effort to raise seven million dollars over the last 10 years," said philanthropy chair Andy Skelton. "Last year, we ranked 11th among 243 active chapters internationally."

The event Pie a Sig, Shave his Wig started off the main events with a total of $3,479 donated from $50 haircuts from the sororities. The Derby Pageant on Nov. 7 followed and raised $1,525 from $5 admission tickets and the T-shirt raffle. The week ended with a date auction held at Wayside Central. The men were ‘auctioned off’ to spend a few hours with the highest bidder. This event brought in a total of $8,130. 

The fraternity also created a donation page that reached $4,300. The remaining amount was donated through businesses, sponsors, friends and family.