With a goal of raising $5,000 for the HWS Relay for Life event in the spring semester, Sigma Chi Epsilon launched its initial fundraising efforts at Homecoming and Family Weekend 2015 with a “Pie a Sigma Chi” event. At $2 per pie, the brothers took more than 100 pies in the face to raise a total of $385 toward their goal.
“The main charity for the national fraternity of Sigma Chi is the Huntsman Cancer Institute, so cancer is a big philanthropy focus of Sigma Chi across the country,” explains Matthew Skinner ’17, vice president of the HWS chapter. “Supporting cancer research means a lot to us. It’s a great cause, and we’re all working toward the same goal.”
Relay for Life is an overnight fundraiser that honors cancer survivors, remembers those who have died, and pays tribute to those who have been diagnosed and those who have dedicated countless hours to aiding cancer victims during their battles. Each spring, students, faculty, staff and local community members gather on campus to participate in the event and support the American Cancer Society. The event is hosted by HWS’ Colleges Against Cancer Club (CAC).
As sponsors of Relay for Life, the Sigma Chi brothers will collaborate with CAC throughout the year to fundraise and also help with the setup and organization of the event. To further the fundraising efforts, Skinner says the brothers are choosing between a number of different events such as a barbeque, pancake breakfast, and radio telethon using the Colleges’ radio station WEOS-FM 89.5/90.3, that would all raise money for Relay for Life.
“It is very true that cancer does indeed touch many people’s lives in one form or another,” says Aaron Ekstein ’16, president of Sigma Chi. “By offering our support, we’re trying to stop that from being the case.”
Over the past year, the brothers – who are currently in the process of working with the international fraternity to be installed as the Alpha Alpha chapter of Sigma Chi in the spring – has grown from seven brothers at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year to one of the largest fraternities on campus at 32 brothers. With this growth, the brothers have also expanded their charitable endeavors. Last year, they participated in three Days of Service, Relay for Life, and volunteered at a local dog shelter to help clean-up and build new cages.
“Philanthropy is not just important for fraternities on campus, but for all people,” Skinner says. “We’re all one big community here on campus, and here in Geneva. One of the core values of Sigma Chi is to make our campus community as strong as possible, and one way to do that is to give back to the local community and hold events that benefit everyone.”
Sigma Chi was on campus from 1892 until 2006, when they left on good terms. For their growth in numbers, they received the Dr. Christopher Howard Most Evolved Fraternal Organization Award from the Interfraternity Council in 2015, and were also recognized by the international fraternity as one of the best colony expansions out of 13 colonies across the U.S. and Canada. Skinner says their goal in being re-chartered on campus is to create an inclusive group of men, dedicated to leadership and service to community.