Nine greek organizations broke a record Saturday night when they raised more than $300,000 over the course of two weeks during events for the 26th annual Derby Days, a charitable program run by the Sigma Chi fraternity.
The fundraiser benefits the Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, said Joseph Hefley, a former Derby Days director for Sigma Chi. The School of Arts and Sciences senior estimates that nearly $1.5 million has been raised in the past five or six years alone.
“It started out as a relatively small thing, but around eight years ago, we finally got to right under the $100,000 mark and that’s when social media started coming out, the sororities’ presence on campus got stronger,” he said. “Six years ago, (we raised) $135,000 … this year it’s right under $300,000.”
Participants spend most of the semester preparing for the week, he said. At the beginning of the semester, members of Sigma Chi were drafted to work with each of the eight different sororities also taking part.
During the two weeks, students competed in various activities including a Family Feud-style game, field activities, a date auction and a Lip Sync Battle. The last dance competition ended the activities for the charity.
“It’s supposed to be fun, you go out there, have a good time, compete against each other,” he said. “At the end of the day everyone (raises money for the hospital).”
The teams that raise the most funds or win different activities win prizes, Hefley said.
These prizes recognize the work each team puts into the fundraiser, he said. Many of the sororities have been preparing for an entire year, while the fraternity brothers began working with their teams at the beginning of the semester.
The event organizers at Sigma Chi begin planning for the next year’s activities immediately after the previous year’s are completed, Hefley said.
“This is a year-long effort, our brothers take it really seriously,” Hefley said. “Right after I got done last year I worked with (the current director), and after tonight we’ll celebrate this weekend, but then the next guy starts Monday.”
Nikhilesh De is the news editor of The Daily Targum. He is a School of Engineering senior. Follow him on Twitter @nikhileshde for more.