By: Kayla McCloud
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH) is the largest network of children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada. Between both countries, there are 170 hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals works efficiently to help as many kids as possible live better, healthier lives. They strive to raise as many funds as possible to help fulfill their most urgent needs. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has been a partner of Sigma Alpha Epsilon since 2001. This partnership allows chapters nationwide to raise funds for critical treatment and health services to improve the lives of as many children as possible, knowing their donations will stay local at their nearest Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. This allows SAE chapters to contribute to their local community while supporting our national partnership.
When an individual chapter raises money, those donations benefit the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. In 2022, across the Realm, Sigma Alpha Epsilon raised $92,748.01 through Dance Marathon and $58,501.68 through philanthropy events. These incredible numbers put into perspective why we are so thankful to partner nationally with such a great organization.
This past year, the chapter at Georgia Southern University, Georgia Alpha, had an amazing turnout raising money for the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. They host their Paddy Murphy week-long event every spring semester to support the hospital. In 2021, they raised nearly $20,000 and donated nearly 9,000 canned food items to the local Statesboro food bank. Their goal for 2022 was to raise $25,000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and they relied on all donations and sponsorships to help keep their costs low to hit their goal.
Jordan Schneider (2023), the philanthropy chairman at the time, was in charge of planning these events. He worked closely with past Eminent Archon Campbell Watkins (Georgia Southern ‘22) to bring their Paddy Murphy Week to life. They knew that competitiveness played a big role in Georgia Southern’s fraternity/sorority life, so they implemented a point system that would align with each event to bring on the competition. Points were accumulated each day based on the activity and participation of each sorority. The points would be tallied up at the end of the week, and the sorority with the most points would ultimately be crowned the winners of Paddy Murphy week.
Each chapter has their own “Paddy Murphy story.” For Georgia Alpha, the number seven is significant from the Paddy Murphy folklore because, in the story, seven women came forward after his death to claim his fortune. This made the competition more interesting; who will claim his fortune this year? Therefore, they encouraged all seven sororities to participate by visiting their chapter meetings to hype up their philanthropic efforts.
On Monday, March 28, 2022, they started Paddy Murphy week with a “Paddy Murphy Funeral Procession.” The SAE chapter carried their empty coffin throughout campus, where sorority members waited outside their houses and joined them in their formal march. Once they reached the fraternity house, Campbell and Jordan spoke about the story of Paddy Murphy and held a Zaxby’s catered dinner that anyone could attend upon purchasing a ticket. Each sorority member who purchased a ticket would be placed in their chapter’s jar, and the sorority that purchased the most tickets received the most points for that day’s activity.
For the second day of the competition, Tuesday, March 29, the chapter partnered with a local restaurant for “Percentage Day at Dolan’s Barbeque,” where Dolan’s Barbeque agreed to give 20% of profits from each meal purchased to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in support of SAE’s philanthropy event. Each sorority member that ate at Dolan’s placed their receipt in their sorority bucket, and the sorority with the most receipts received 300 points.
Wednesday, March 30, consisted of a “Beach Volleyball Tournament.” Tickets were $5 per person, and many incentives were included for participating. Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, Powerade, and water were all available for purchase, with all proceeds going to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This fun activity encouraged the sorority women to get competitive and creative. Whichever chapter had the best “Paddy Murphy-themed” uniforms for the games received 100 points. On top of these points, additional points were given for first, second, and third place.
Thursday, March 31, was a laid-back day for everyone. With no events being scheduled for the day, this helped the SAE brothers catch up on tallying all points and preparing things for Friday’s talent show. This also gave sororities the opportunity to practice their acts for the next day’s talent show.
Friday, April 1, was “Talent Show Day.”, which took place in the Russel Union theater. Tickets to the show were $7 each. Each candidate and the panel of student judges were introduced at the show’s beginning. Sororities were allowed to compete with one to ten other women in their acts, which ranged from baton twirling to singing. They confirmed their ideas with their SAE coaches upon performance. These coaches were brothers who volunteered to look after the talent show participants. The judges scored them based on their performances, and a range of points were rewarded depending on placements.
To celebrate a week-long worth of endless participation and commitment, Saturday, April 2nd, was their “Paddy Party.” All the sorority members were invited to celebrate their contributions to SAE’s partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and it was a great way to enjoy each other’s company. Chandler Riggs, an actor from The Walking Dead, was their DJ and got everyone hyped up. Roscoe Dash, an American rapper, came out on stage as the main artist. This party was the talk of the town. Around 10:00 p.m., it was time to announce the winner of the entire week. Phi Mu was announced the winner of the 2022 Paddy Murphy Week, accumulating a total of 8,000 points, donating over 2,000 cans, and raising around $6,000. The best part about these ladies winning is that they also raise funds to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospital; SAE and Phi Mu are the only chapters to do so.
In total, the Georgia Alpha chapter exceeded their goal and raised a total of $26,000. These proceeds went to the Augusta, Georgia, Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. It was a great turnout of events, and the brothers could not thank their donors, sponsors, and participants enough for playing a significant role.