Last spring, McCormick junior Ben Shorofsky, Sigma Chi’s Derby Days chair, decided to take the annual philanthropic competition to the next level. His goal: to raise $15,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network instead of the typical $10,000.
To help boost that number, Sigma Chi contacted Shwayze to perform on Nov. 7 in the Louis Room. Two years ago, the fraternity hosted duo, The Hood Internet, in their house and Shorofsky thought it was time to bring a bigger name to campus.
“We just started reaching out, making contacts, looking at what made the most sense for us, what made the most sense for other people,” he said.
After some searching, they chose Shwayze because they believe he would draw a large crowd, and his band seemed enthusiastic to come to Northwestern. The artist plays with a four-person band, including Jason Smith, who will open the concert with a DJ set.
The event had to be approved by Sigma Chi’s national headquarters and the university, but Shorofsky said that the fraternity makes the final decisions.
“They [Northwestern] understand that this is a big charity event. They’re pretty supportive when a group tries to do something new,” he said.
Shorofsky also gained support from the Residence Hall Association, which sponsors several student events that in some way benefit students in residential halls. RHA hosts or sponsors about three events per quarter and a couple of philanthropies, including NU Stands with Pakistan.
RHA President and Sigma Chi brother Jesus Roman, a Weinberg sophomore, said that last year, RHA wanted to host a concert with the Residential College Board but ran into several difficulties. Then, last spring, Shorofsky presented a proposal at an RHA general assembly meeting and requested their sponsorship. The board, which is composed of residential hall presidents, voted and approved the event. Roman did not vote because of his position as president.
GREEN House president Paige Humecki voted to sponsor the concert. “I am always for bringing more live shows to Northwestern, especially when they benefit a charity like the Children’s Miracle Network,” the McCormick sophomore said.
She saw the event as mutually beneficial since Shorofsky offered cheaper tickets to residential hall students ($5 instead of $7). She also thinks the event will help promote unity on campus.
“It created an unusual alliance between RHA and a Greek organization,” she said. “It is rare to see a fraternity partner with a group other than a sorority on any event.”
Of course, Derby Days consists of events beyond the concert, most of which involve competition between sororities. Throughout the week, Sigma Chi hosts penny wars, a hot tub event, a volleyball tournament and raffles, among other things. Several of these are annual staples but the Derby Days Bash is fairly new.
Shorofsky hopes it boosts enthusiasm and increases donations. After months of contact with the artist, he is excited to present Shwayze at Northwestern. So far, Sigma Chi has sold more than 500 tickets for the concert and raised more than $10,000 this week.
“Obviously, this was kind of a bigger event for us to plan,” he said. “We’ve learned that it’s mainly just about working with the artist, figuring out a situation that’s good for everyone and then every party will be excited.”