Sigma Chi Derby Days to raise money for cancer institute

The annual fundraiser begins April 6

Sigma Chi Derby Days, which begins Monday, April 6 will include lip-syncing, raffles and a concert, and is named by AU Fraternity & Sorority Life as Greek Program of the Year.

Derby Days is a week long fundraiser that raises money for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, according to Tyler Berg, member of Sigma Chi and a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Everybody has a story with cancer, you know, everybody’s family [has been] involved, has been affected by cancer,” Berg said. “For all of us in Sigma Chi, it’s personal. And I know that a lot of people that I know personally at AU have had some situations [with cancer].”

The Huntsman Cancer Foundation was founded in 1995 by Jon Huntsman, a Sigma Chi, according to Berg. The foundation funds its cancer institute in Salt Lake City, Utah where the money fundraised during Derby Days will go directly toward cancer research.

Sigma Chi has a budget in place for hosting Derby Days events and all of the donations made during Derby Days will go directly to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, according to Berg.

Last year, AU’s Derby Days raised $26,280 for the foundation, making them the fifth highest raising chapter out of 280 nationwide, according to Berg. Their fundraising goal for this year is $20,000.

Sigma Chi has been holding Derby Day events since 1933, but last year’s successful AU Derby Days was the first time that AU’s chapter of Sigma Chi, Kappa Rho, had hosted it in several years, because of planning issues within Kappa Rho’s internal administration, according to Berg.

“We, going into it, hadn’t done Derby Days for the past couple of years so we didn’t really have any concrete expectations,” Berg said. “So, we rallied together as a group and raised $30 thousand. Forty of us, 40 guys, at American University raising $30 thousand was an incredible feeling making some actual change.”

Throughout Derby Days, teams of sororities compete in events such as penny wars, a lip-sync competition and a derby hunt, during which teams follow a clue tweeted by @auderbydays in order to find derby hats and other clues hidden around campus. 

Teams accumulate points as they win activities, and the team with the most points at the end of the week will be the Derby Days winner, according to Berg.

Non-competitive events include a concert from VÉRITÉ and Who Needs A Pulse? on April 9 at 9 p.m. in Mary Graydon Center 3-5, and day raffles for gift-cards to different businesses around the D.C. area, according to Berg.

By participating in Derby Days last year, Berg said he enjoyed being part of something much bigger than himself and how he was able to see the type of positive impact Greek life can make. 

“The AU community has the power to be the generation that ends cancer, and that sounds kind of idealistic but it’s really true, people rally together,” Berg said.

Donations to AU’s Derby Days Huntsman Cancer Foundation fund can be made here.

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.