Delt Dogs Make a Difference for JDRF
How can a hot dog eating contest make a difference in the world? Year after year Delta Tau Delta’s Delta Gamma Chapter at the University of South Dakota serves hot dogs to fundraise in support of the Fraternity’s national philanthropic partner, JDRF. As the leading global organization harnessing the power of research, advocacy and community engagement to advance life-changing breakthroughs for type 1 diabetes (T1D), JDRF envisions a world without type 1 diabetes.
For its Delt Dogs event in October, Delta Gamma Chapter invited guests to bring their dogs to the event. The catchy play on words has become a fun way to generate interest and grow participation as chapter members prepare a hot dog meal for guests. A highlight at the conclusion of the event is the hot dog eating contest. For 2022, eight volunteers competed in a five-minute hot dog eating contest. The winner was awarded a gift card to a local restaurant, presumably to be used on a later date.
As a result of Delt Dogs, the chapter donated $5,200 to the joint Nebraska and Iowa JDRF chapter, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Funds primarily came from sponsorships secured by each brother reaching out to a couple of businesses a month or two before the event. Sponsors are acknowledged during the event and on the event t-shirt. Entry fees also bring in funds.
Sam Rabern (University of South Dakota, 2023) who is now chapter president, served as the philanthropy chairman for the Delt Dogs event in October. “Most of the work for this event is done in preparation,” Rabern said. “After I was elected philanthropy chairman, I formed a committee of six chapter members. My committee and I met once a week about what we had to do that week to prepare for the event. Some of these tasks include calling businesses about sponsorships, calling our local grocer about food, brainstorming potential ways to increase the funds raised and several other essential tasks.”
Chapter brothers also continually work to find the most effective ways to promote the event. This year they shared frequent social media posts, posted fliers around the campus and community and established email chains with other members of fraternities and sororities. While the audience is primarily students, Delt Dogs is open to the community and the chapter typically sees a dozen or more members of the Vermillion, South Dakota community participate in Delt Dogs.
“This event is an extremely fun way for our members to interact with the community to raise funds for such a great cause,” Rabern said. Next, the chapter will hold an in-house educational session to ensure members understand JDRF's mission and Delt’s philanthropic partnership.