Fraternity-led charitable obstacle course succeeds in leaps and bounds

Over 50 participants worked up a storm on Sunday at the Sigma Challenge for Shriners Hospital.

The event, hosted by the National Panhellenic Council and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, featured a timed obstacle course in which teams of five overcame eight stations.

Competitors raised $200 for the hospital as well as $50 in donations.

“We’re supporting a good cause,” said senior sociology major Kevyn Lewis.

Lewis is also the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and a member of Phi Beta Sigma.

“As a member of the football team we go out there a lot. The kids appreciate all the help they can get,” he said.

The physically and mentally challenging event was also a way for the fraternity and council to promote health and fitness within the community.

“As we all know, obesity is a pretty big deal, especially in the United States,” Lewis said. “We chose to put it on Russell Field because it’s on one of the busiest streets. That way people from the community could see us out there having fun and working out.”

As for prizes for the fastest-finishing team, Sodexo provided rewards in the form of Silo and Coffee House gift cards.

“It’s funny because we’re doing a fitness event to promote not being obese, so we’re hoping that they don’t use the gift certificates to buy fast food,” Lewis said.

Despite Sunday’s heat, Lewis reported a great turnout for the event and a good time had by all.

“A diverse group came out and represented,” Lewis said. “Everybody had a lot of fun.”

Lewis’s fraternity brothers from Phi Beta Sigma echoed the event’s success.

“We were happy with the turnout and it was really fun,” said senior psychology major Frederick Rice. “We were very humbled and excited that we had the opportunity to do an event like this.”

The fraternity has a history of community involvement in the past, organizing events ranging from clean-ups to building homes for the homeless.

“Our fraternity is founded upon the principle of service,” said senior history major and Spanish minor Kevin Grant. Grant is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma. “This year we committed ourselves to monthly community cleanups. We build homes for Habitat for Humanity and organized a homeless feed in Central Park.”

As an African American fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma also hosts events catered to making the African American population at UC Davis feel more at home.

“We don’t limit ourselves, but we do reach out to the black community seeing as they only represent one percent of the Davis campus,” Lewis explained.

In the past, the fraternity organized a speech with a former Black Panther member. It brought a predominantly African American Sacramento middle school to the campus for a tour.

But regardless of the type of event, the fraternity always tries to make it purposeful.

“Because we are a smaller frat and are often overlooked, this was a great opportunity,” Lewis said. “When we do throw events they always have a charitable cause.”

This was the first-ever Sigma Fitness Challenge, but it won’t be the last. Phi Beta Sigma hopes to turn it into an annual tradition.

“I hope we can make it better and build upon what we did on Sunday,” Rice said.

EINAT GILBOA can be reached city@theaggie.org.

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