Sigma Chi raises one million for Huntsman

Huntsman Cancer Foundation Founder Jon M. Huntsman gives a cheer for Sigma Chi’s one millionth dollar donation to the Huntsman Cancer Center on Friday. Karina Puikkonen / The Daily Utah Chronicle

Huntsman Cancer Foundation Founder Jon M. Huntsman gives a cheer for Sigma Chi’s one millionth dollar donation to the Huntsman Cancer Center on Friday.
Karina Puikkonen / The Daily Utah Chronicle

The national Sigma Chi fraternity donated its one millionth dollar to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation on Friday. HCF founder Jon Huntsman Sr. accepted the large dollar bill cutout symbolizing the millionth dollar donated for cancer research.

“We will conquer this disease — we are going to overcome this disease because of young men and women like you,” Huntsman said, a quadruple cancer survivor and Sigma Chi alum.

The U’s Sigma Chi chapter, alongside the San Diego State University chapter and Sigma Chi’s International Sweetheart, Sydney Binnington, represented the national fraternity at the hospital.

The fraternity members chose HCF to be their official philanthropic organization at their 150th anniversary in 2005. As an alum, Huntsman has received the Order of Constantine for being a dedicated member of the fraternity as well as the title “Significant Sig” for his success as a businessman and philanthropist. Huntsman and his family have contributed about $350 million to HCF development.

HCF is a nationally acclaimed cancer research center that assists more than 30 percent of Utah’s cancer patients.

“We represented something a lot bigger than just ourselves,” said Buck Horn, vice president of Sigma Chi and a junior in civil engineering. “When you come and step foot into this institute you realize how many people you have truly affected and will affect in the future with that million dollars.”

The U’s local chapter and the SDSU chapter each raised their own portion of the fraternity’s million dollar goal through the fraternity’s national philanthropic week, Derby Days. The SDSU chapter hosted events such as tug-of-war, ping-pong, obstacle courses and a rock wall to raise about $10,000 for HCF.

“It’s pretty incredible what they do here,” said Drew Halsch, member of the SDSU chapter. “It’s kind of hard to go up to someone and ask for money, but when you put the effort behind it and say what cause you are going for, it’s definitely pretty cool.”

In addition to Derby Days, the U chapter raised money through their own “Sigs of Spring” competitions at the Sigma Chi house, as well as through networking among family, friends and alumni. In the last 15 days of fundraising they raised more than $23,000.

The national fraternity fundraised for eight years to reach their million-dollar goal.

“This is the milestone marker,” Horn said. “If college kids can get together and donate a million dollars to Huntsman Cancer then other people can [too].”

Both the U and SDSU chapters were confident they could increase donations within the following years.

“With a little more preparation and a little more reaching out I think we can double what we did this year,” Halsch said.

Hope for future fundraising is high.

“Ultimately, we raise money every year, but it has never been [this much],” Horn said. “We have new goals, let’s get the campus involved and let’s draw more people in. Hopefully this is an eye-opener today … and hopefully we can get more donations.”