WPI Fraternity Brothers and WPI Campus Coming Together for Change!
By Daniel Page, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Civil Engineering 2018
“How’s it looking Robbie?” President Conor Hoey asks Brother Robbie Lederman, this year’s ‘Battle of the Bald’ Event Coordinator.
There’s hesitation, anticipation, hopefulness that plans are progressing. “It’s good. We’ve got a few barbers, we’re calling a few more, we’re still looking to see who we can have there – hopefully Colleges Against Cancer will be there, Phi Kappa Theta’s all set for their Movember Fundraiser, Sigma Pi wants to make a team, it should be good, we’re getting there.”
The whole executive board is gathered around the large mahogany table in the living room of the chapter facility where they hold their biweekly meetings. Everyone’s ready to make sure this year’s event goes off without a hitch – bigger and better than it ever has before.
Say hello to WPI’s Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and its third annual Battle of the Bald event.
The event is part of a nationwide head-shaving competition between colleges, all teaming up to see who can raise the most money for children’s cancer research. The proceeds from each event go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the nation’s largest non-profit foundation exclusively supporting pediatric cancer research.
The event was first hosted on WPI’s campus three years ago. The brothers of the Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) felt there was a hole in the fundraising on campus, that there was more that could be done, and they felt they fit the bill.
That’s when it all began, says senior Brother Dan Page. “The house really felt like there was more we could do, like the couple hundred dollars here and there from on-campus fundraising for different causes wasn’t enough. We wanted to do something bigger. We wanted to really make an impact.”
The first year SigEp hosted the event, it was modest – a group of thirty or so brothers, in the common area of a few freshman dorms, shaving each other’s heads over a tarp on a Tuesday afternoon – still raising $6,000 nonetheless. After a few years of the same turnout, the fraternity again felt there was more they could do.
“We really wanted to beef it up, to make it more of a trademark event, something that would extend beyond our house and really involve the whole campus, not just our little corner,” says President Conor Hoey.
So this year the Brotherhood did just that. Planning began months in advance, at the beginning of the calendar year. Brainstorming how to involve other organizations, dedicating a five-member team of passionate brothers, collaborating with other houses on campus to make the event bigger and better than ever before.
And this year those efforts paid off. At WPI’s event more than 60 people braved the shave raising more than $13,000 – making the event the second largest college-hosted event in the nation to date this year.
Four different fraternities came together to make teams to raise money for the event, local barbers from the community volunteered their time to shave participants’ heads, there were news crews in coverage – it was truly a celebration of the fight against cancer.
“To see such a small campus come together to make such a big difference has really been inspiring to everybody,” says Hoey.
It is with that spirit of inspiration and hope that the Brothers of SigEp, and the members of the greater WPI community remember the chilling facts: every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. One in five of those children won’t survive. Those who do often suffer long-term effects from treatments too harsh for their developing bodies. These fraternity brothers and members of the WPI campus teamed up with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in hopes to change this reality, and they still cling to hope that one day the memory of pediatric cancer will be no more than the memory of a bad haircut, trimmed from our minds and swept away forever.
… Because we listened to this 🎵🎵 when WE were in college🏫 (UMass Amherst)!!😉