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Kappa Sigma surpasses philanthropy giving goals

Staff Reporter

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:10

The Kappa Sigma fraternity reached out to the Hammond community and surpassed fundraising expectations through their event Kardboard Stake Out.

Every year the fraternity is required to donate a minimum of $1,000 to their philanthropy, the Fisher House Foundation. Through their 2013 fundraiser, Kappa Sigma more than doubled their required donation by raising over $2,100 and have been recognized by their national headquarters for their efforts. The stake out took place from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 in downtown Hammond in the Brady’s parking lot near the railroads.

“We’re not just raising money; we’re giving back to our community and getting our name and Southeastern’s name out into the community in a positive light,” said Tommy McConnell, media relations for Kappa Sigma. “It’s a brotherhood event. Our new members see that it’s more than just having fun; we actually work hard. We’re all hanging out and having fun while we’re raising money for our philanthropy.”

The Fisher House Foundation builds comfort homes for military veterans and their families on the grounds of major military and Veteran Affairs medical centers nationwide and in Europe. The homes allow family to be close during hospitalization and recovery periods. According to their website the foundation has donated an estimated $200 million for lodging and transportation.

In 2012 Kappa Sigma held their first annual cardboard fundraiser, “Kardboard Camp Out,” for which they planned to build cardboard houses and camp out for 24 hours. They ended up raising over $1,300. The idea came from a Kappa Sigma chapter at a different university.

“Last year, we spent a lot of time devoted to building our little house, and it became more cumbersome than really helpful,” said McConnell. “So this year we switched directions and turned it into a ‘stake out.’ We used cardboard we had collected over the weeks to make signs instead.”

Despite the original 24-hour camp out plan, they decided to shorten the fundraiser for practical reasons.

“We thought it was best to leave early. Besides, at three in the morning, you’re mainly just getting drunk people, and at that point it’s just causing problems,” said Scott Chaisson, awards chairman for Kappa Sigma. “It was just too risky for us to be down there by ourselves.”

McConnell felt the biggest change from past fundraisers was the decision to move off campus and into the community.

“Let’s face it, college students just don’t make as much money in the world, so they don’t have as much to give. When you’re downtown on the streets of Hammond, where there are older members of the community who have established jobs and incomes,” said McConnell. “We took it beyond campus to the middle of Hammond and drew attention to ourselves to raise money for the wounded soldiers, and I think that’s where we made a difference.”

Past fundraisers included basketball tournaments and car washes which were focused around the university.

“In years past we put a lot of time and effort into pulling together small events trying to make that minimum, and now we can make much more than with this one event,” said Chaisson.

“It was surprising how well we did. I personally received donations from two different individual people, $20. One guy by himself donated $70. The more you talked to them, the more they were willing to give, after we explained the details of what we were supporting.”

Through trial and error, the fraternity has managed to push past expectations and host more effective fundraisers.

“After the past two years we’ve worked out the problems. We know what we need to do and who we need to talk to get it all set up, what works and what doesn’t work,” said Chaisson. “Every year we grow. We’ll probably be able to make more and donate more next year.”

For more information on the Fisher House Foundation visit

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