Raising money, collecting food and sending letters were all done as part of Sigma Chi’s annual Derby Days April 21-25.
The week-long Derby Days has been held since the 50s, nationally, and the 80s, locally, as one of Sigma Chi’s staple philanthropic events.
The majority of the event is set up as a competition between sororities and is facilitated by the fraternity.
Chris Koechner, senior from Marion, Ill., is the Derby Days chairman for the Epsilon Tau chapter of Sigma Chi.
Koechner set goals to raise more money than prior years for the Jon Huntsman Cancer Foundation, a group who raises funds to support the mission of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the group’s chosen charity for the event.
“This year I had a single Derby Darlin’ from each sorority meet with me, “ Koechner said. “Two brothers are coaches for each sorority team and the rest are distributed as part of the team.”
Spirit points were awarded during the week to sororities for a variety of different competitions. A banner design contest, penny wars, dunking booth and Sign-A-Sig day were all held during the week.
On April 23 in the Curris Center, a table was set up so that sorority members and other students could write letters to be sent to military personnel.
Koechner said that 352 letters were written and mailed to those serving our country overseas.
A skate night was held April 24 at Circus Skate. The evening supplied more than 1,200 canned goods for the Murray-Calloway County Need Line.
Sigma Chi hosted a social event at its house Friday night. Boulder’s Smokehouse BBQ was served and The Lee Gantt Band from Ohio was the entertainment for the evening.
Field events were held on Saturday at Hamilton Field and included tug-of-war, relay races and an egg smash.
Sorority team members, holding an egg in one hand and a rolled up newspaper in the other, perched on the shoulders of fraternity members.
The goal was to smash the eggs on the heads of opponent team members with the newspaper.
The Derby Days week-long events were wrapped up at the Sigma Chi house with a dress-your-coach-like-a-girl contest, the traditional hat chase and the awards ceremony.
Sigma Sigma Sigma earned the spirit award plaque, but Alpha Gamma Delta took home the grand champion trophy.
Aida De La Fuente, junior from Louisville, Ky., and member of Alpha Omicron Pi, was announced as the new Sigma Chi sweetheart.
De La Fuente said that Sigma Chi went above and beyond with this year’s event.
“Chris (Koechner) and Sigma Chi put their heart and soul into it all,” De La Fuente said. “Like the concert, they don’t usually have that.”
Alex Reynolds, sophomore from Benton, Ky., and member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, said it is sometimes hard to keep an event big all week long, but that sororities like competition. “This is one of my favorite (philanthropies),” she said.
Kappa Delta, the newest sorority at Murray State, participated for the first time this year.
Jessica Kraintz, senior from Belleville, Ill., and member of KD, said the event was awesome and a lot of fun.
“I like that we’re all involved,” Kraintz said. “It’s very competitive, a little bit more than we thought it was, but it’s awesome.”
Story by Lori Allen, Staff writer