Last spring Sigma Chi’s Eta Lambda chapter was again given the opportunity to host Derby Days on Virginia Tech’s campus. The past decade has been a huge success in showing the New River Valley how large of an impact our chapter can make for Children’s Miracle Network on a year to year basis. CMN relies extensively on donations to purchase prenatal care equipment which makes our efforts to raise money that much more important. It is with pride that the Eta Lambda chapter has continually been placed among the top donors each year for CMN. An aspect of our fraternity we wish to extend far into the future.
However this year the chapter was faced with a reduction in not only the length of the events but an unusually low participation rate due to national pressure on sororities not to take part in our philanthropy. With 3 of the 5 top donating sororities in 2012 electing not to participate (including number 1 and 2) the challenge to meet our target goal in monetary donations was becoming an increasingly difficult task for 2013. But in true hokie fashion, other parts of the Greek community rose to the occasion to help make another memorable and meaningful week for Children’s Miracle Network and Sigma Chi.
Before the week the goal was set at 20,000 dollars with 8 to 10 participating sororities over a span of five days. After only 6 sororities fully committed to the week and the university reduced the week’s duration from 5 to 3 days, this total was not the most feasible goal. To break it down, the week had 60% participation with a 40% reduced event duration to raise 100% of what was raised in previous year; a daunting proposal. Despite these obstacles the week was carried through to the end without any major issues. In years past, critics of our philanthropy have argued that the focus of the event was lost as the week progressed due to various factors .Although our chapter did not fully agree with many of these critiques, we refocused our aim in maintaining the integrity and purpose of the week. Through these revitalized efforts and the support of all those that fought to keep Derby Days a premier philanthropy on this campus, we were able to donate more than 15,000 dollars to the New River Valley’s Children’s Miracle Network.
The results of Derby Days 2013 surpassed all expectations and are truly a representation of the character of Sigma Chi’s national organization as well as the deep sense of community here in the New River Valley.
-Steve Farmartino, Derby Daddy