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Sigma Chi Kicks Off Annual ‘Derby Days’ Charity Competition

Sigma Chi fraternity kicked off its annual week-long philanthropy Sunday, known lovingly as Derby Days. The week-long competition started with penny wars in the HUB and continued Monday evening with a field day at the Sigma Chi house, which included a paint bucket challenge, egg toss, tug of war, and “Pi A Chi” (how clever).

To give the GDIs a little insight, Derby Days is a competition between all the Panhellenic sororities at Penn State where, at the end of the week, the sorority with the most points is crowned the winner.

“The first-place award winners of Derby Days get a trophy and 50 percent of their total amount raised back to give to a philanthropy of their choice,” said Sigma Chi President Kevin Phelps. “Second place gets 40 percent back, and third place gets 30 percent back. This is a new addition to this year’s Derby Days, and is meant to give the girls extra incentive.”

Sigma Chi chapters across the country host Derby Days of their own, but the events differ by chapter. Upcoming events include a lip-synching contest on Tuesday, a talent show on Wednesday, a brotherhood auction and captain dress-up on Thursday, and derby runs to finish out the week on Friday.

“As president, I mostly just have an oversight role with Derby Days, but we have four chairmen who organized the event: Joe Vanelli, Bryan Ryder, Will Bensur, and Zach Abel,” Phelps said. “These four have proven themselves to the brotherhood as responsible, well-organized, and, of course, philanthropic in spirit.”

Derby Days raises funds for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Politician John Huntsman, a brother of Sigma Chi, founded the institute, and Sigma Chi national headquarters has deemed it its primary national philanthropy. The proceeds from Derby Days go to research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute as well as upkeep of the facilities. Phelps had the opportunity to visit the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah last summer.

“I went on a tour conducted by workers and spoke with patients about their experiences,” said Phelps. “The patient rooms looked more like hotel rooms, and I could tell from my interactions with them that they were extremely thankful for having access to such a fantastic facility.”

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