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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Sigma Chi’s raise money for cancer center

By Michael McFall

Although the final tally hasn’t been taken, the Sigma Chi fraternity collected between $10,000 and $15,000 to donate to the Huntsman Cancer Institute during their annual Derby Days fundraiser held last week.

“For us, it’s a fun way to give back to the community,” said Sigma Chi President Tim Jones.

During the week, fraternity members buy derby hats-old-fashioned round black caps also called bowler hats-and T-shirts to raise money.

Active members of Sigma Chi can purchase the hats and shirts for $5 and $10, respectively. The money from the sales goes to the cancer institute. Sorority women can then try to bribe Sigma Chi members to part with the apparel in exchange for a good or service, such as a lunch or a car wash.

The week’s events included a soup and breadsticks dinner Monday, a date auction Wednesday and a silent auction Saturday.

The sorority that raises the most money during the auction gets to accompany Sigma Chi on their annual Lake Mead trip for half off, saving each member approximately $40, said sophomore Kirk Bagley.

“(The prize) gives them more motivation to bid at the auction, plus it’s more fun to get all the girls involved,” Bagley said.

Whether motivation or sheer charisma had anything to do with it, last year’s house president Tim Jones was auctioned off for about $1,000.

The auction gives the men of Sigma Chi a chance to act goofy on a stage in order to win the bid from one of their sorority neighbors.

“They basically make fools of themselves to raise money?it’s a funny night,” said Andy Burns, a senior economics major.

The average bid on Wednesday was between $100 and $175, which raised a total of about $1,000, said Winston Waltman, a junior international studies major.

Most of the money raised for the cancer institute comes from personal donations from Sigma Chi alumni. Thousands of letters are sent out to alumni, telling them about Derby Days, specifically the Saturday silent auction, and asking them to donate money if they can.

“(The donations from alumni is) where we bring in probably about 90 percent of the money,” said Andy Burns, a senior economics major.

How much each alumnus donates varies, but Waltman said that donations have ranged between $50 to $1,000, depending on how much they have to give.

For the silent auction, members of Sigma Chi went door-to-door to businesses, asking if they could donate anything.

The fraternity was able to collect time shares at hotels and resorts, such as a two-night stay at Zion National Park, as well as sports memorabilia such as Jazz tickets, a basketball signed by the entire Jazz team and a football signed by all the members of the Utes.

“We raised almost $2,000 on Saturday,” Waltman said.

While the auction is geared toward parents and alumni, Waltman said, the soup and breadsticks dinner was a more inclusive gathering. He said about 200 people attended the dinner.

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