Sigma Nu gathers to help charity

All proceeds from a four-chapter fundraiser went to St. Jude Hospital.

Kevin McCahill

Approximately 150 Sigma Nu fraternity members from four states converged on the gridiron of the East River Flats on Saturday to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The charity flag football game was organized by Matt Atkinson, chapter adviser for Sigma Nu at the University.

Chapter members from the University of Iowa, University of Nebraska and North Dakota State University traveled to Minneapolis to play the game. All proceeds went to the Memphis, Tenn.-based St. Jude, Atkinson said. This was the first time the event was held.

To participate, chapter members wrote letters to friends and family asking for donations for the hospital. Atkinson was expecting to write more than 5,000 letters and to raise at least $15,000.

“Our goal as an organization is to excel in the classroom and create a brotherhood,” Atkinson said. “We’ve exceeded at everything we’ve done before, and we wanted to create a lasting relationship with St. Jude’s.”

The University of Nebraska won the tournament, which was wetted by rain on the field. The winning chapter received a saber-shaped trophy that will stay with it until next year. Atkinson hopes to make it an annual event.

“The tournament is a flagship to get chapters together and recognize our accomplishments,” he said.

The fraternity normally does philanthropy work for the Red Cross, but has recently begun working with St. Jude.

Danielle Prestipino, events and marketing representative for St. Jude, said the organization is grateful for the fraternity’s help.

“It’s wonderful to get students involved,” she said.

This is the first year and first event in which Sigma Nu has partnered with St. Jude, but Prestipino said the group will be collaborating on more events in the future.

The money raised will go toward research and treatment for children with afflictions such as HIV and AIDS and other immune deficiencies.

The University’s Sigma Nu President Jeff Kopesky, a genetics and cellular development senior, said the chapter has been working for a few years to create a larger fundraising event.

John Lohr, President of Sigma Nu at the University of Nebraska, brought 45 members and pledges.

“I thought it’d be a great thing to do for my guys to meet more guys from other chapters,” he said. “Fraternities aren’t just about parties. This is a great example of multifraternity function where results go to a good cause.”

Chris Librando, new member educator for the University of Iowa chapter, said the event creates a positive atmosphere within the fraternity.

“I think it establishes good relations with the chapters,” he said. “It puts a good name to our fraternity. I know there are some stereotypes Ö so this is a good image for what we can do.

“St. Jude is a great organization and does good things for children.”