Students dressed in giant sumo suits engaged each other in combat Thursday on the university green as part of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s fall philanthropy event, “Kick It With Kappa!”
Every year, each of the University of Miami’s Greek organizations spend two days fundraising on campus in either the fall or spring semester and one day doing so in the opposite semester. This year, Kappa decided to plan a new program for “Kick It,” trading in its traditional volleyball tournament for coin wars, sumo wrestling and the Kappa World Cup.
Eight fraternities participated in “Kick It”: Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Kappa Sigma, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Sigma Phi, Beta Theta Pi, Pi Kappa Phi and Lambda Chi Alpha.
During coin wars, each fraternity competed to collect the most cash in its coin jars. Eight large gallon containers were set up on tables in the breezeway, each labeled with a fraternity’s name. Passersby and fraternity brothers “voted” with coins and dollars.
Sumo wrestling offered an opportunity for fraternity members and non-Greek students to throw on a sumo suit and duke it out in a round for a participation fee.
“It was actually really funny,” said Raquel Mitchel, president of Miami’s Delta Kappa chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. “I think all the frats that participated had a lot of fun with it.”
All proceeds from the event went toward the sorority’s national partner, Reading is Fundamental, a nonprofit that fights children’s illiteracy. Kappa Kappa Gamma has already raised $4,800 for Reading is Fundamental.
“61 percent of lower-income families don’t have books at home, which was really shocking to me because I was always surrounded by books,” said Katie Cwikla, the philanthropy chair for Kappa Kappa Gamma.
In addition to raising money for Reading is Fundamental, the sorority also volunteers with the organization in local communities through a program called Reading Buddies.
“We go as sorority sisters once a week to read to kids at community centers, so it’s something we’re really proud of and something that we’re really trying to raise awareness for,” Cwikla said.
The chapter hopes to raise at least $5,000 this year for Reading is Fundamental. However, Cwikla emphasized that the main goal is to spread the word about the organization and about illiteracy in general.
“I don’t think it’s a problem most people are aware of, so just really getting more people on campus involved is important,” she said.
In an effort to raise funds from a variety of sources, the sorority has also opened a page at GoFundMe.com, a fundraising website allowing supporters to donate money for causes. Event entry fees, T-shirts and on-campus events also contributed to the fundraising.
“Kick It” concluded with the Kappa World Cup on Friday, a soccer tournament among the participating fraternities.
Each team in the tournament represented a different country and teams were judged on athletic performance and on country flag designs. Mojito Grill provided a donation of food to sell at the tournament, which also contributed to fundraising proceeds.
At the end of the events, Lambda Chi Alpha took the lead with the highest philanthropic contribution, closely followed by Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi.
Sophomore Joel Glickman, who serves as the external vice president for Lamba Chi Alpha, stressed the important role philanthropy plays in Greek life.
“We really urged the entire chapter to get on board,” Glickman said. “It’s one of those things that brings Greek life together.”
Members of Kappa Kappa Gamma are looking forward to their spring event, which will be organized under the newly elected philanthropy chair, to be announced in November.