The Sigma Chis put Pepperdine’s “purpose, service and leadership” philosophy into action with their week-long philanthropy “Derby Days,” which raised $35,000 for the City of Hope.
Derby Days is a week full of competitions and games to raise money for the City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment center that has received national recognition. The event also aims to get the different sorority members involved with the organization.
The Sigma Chi members each have a derby hat that they award to the girl they believe did the most for the City of Hope at the end of the week.
The sorority who receives the most points for participation is named the overall winner of the Derby Days. Kappa Kappa Gamma continued their winning streak by receiving the award for the ninth year in a row.
“The competition aspect helps encourage people to participate, which increases the money we can raise,” said Josh Tuz, the philanthropy chairman of Sigma Chi. “It’s amazing to see the amount of people who get involved.”
The Kappa Omicron chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity was founded at Pepperdine in 1991, and they have been holding this philanthropy every year since the beginning.
“It is a nationwide event, but each chapter does it in their own way,” Tuz said.
The Pepperdine Derby Days held special events for the sororities to compete in all week, and they were awarded points accordingly. These events included skit nights, powderpuff football and “Sign a Sig.”
Sigma Chi members were auctioned off as coaches before the football games, and this year the winner was Alpha Phi. On “Sign a Sig” day the brothers wore white T-shirts and collected signatures from the sorority girls, who received points for each signature.
“This year we found that the events really brought the sororities closer together as well,” said Sigma Chi member senior Gerald Cox II.
During the week, Sigma Chi had a tent set up near the rock that was attended 24 hours a day by pledges and members on a teeter-totter they refer to as the “Sig-Saw.” “The Sig-Saw symbolizes that the fight against cancer never sleeps,” Tuz said.
Sorority members were also encouraged to paint the rock to show their support for Sigma Chi and its philanthropy, for which they were awarded points. There was also a clothing sale held at the tent and a toy drive.
The City of Hope Los Angeles has a significant children’s hospital, which the philanthropy was working with as well. Many toys and gifts were donated to the hospital throughout the week, and the sorority girls made cards with inspirational messages for the children.
“By the end of the week we can be sure that everyone involved knows the cause,” Tuz said. “As a result, a lot of people actually go to the hospital to volunteer, donate blood and even bone marrow.”
This year’s Derby Days raised the largest amount of money to be donated to the City of Hope since the founding of the Kappa Omicron chapter of Sigma Chi. The $35,000 donation surpasses last year’s by more than $5,000.
Derby Days has also been awarded the Pepperdine Greek Award for Philanthropy of the Year every year since 2006.
However, none of this would have been possible without the participation of all of the Peppedine sororities, Tuz and Cox acknowledged.
“They do so much for us and for the City of Hope throughout the week, it’s unbelievable,” Tuz said.
“This year’s success blew my mind,” Cox added. “It truly is something special.”