Imagine a world where Wolverines and Buckeyes existed harmoniously, with the two rivals’ discrepancies having fallen by the wayside.
Now, faster than a Ted Ginn 40, come back to reality. Even the idea of that sounds a bit far-fetched. But two groups of students have managed to do just that.
While there will be no love lost when No. 1 Ohio State hosts No. 2 Michigan on Nov. 18, the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity at each school is proving that, animosity aside, some really good things can come out of their commonality.
The Omicron Deuteron chapter from Ohio State – the oldest fraternity on campus—and the Alpha Phi chapter from Michigan, will combine their efforts to take part in the Third Annual FIJI Rivalry Run Against Cancer. The event is aimed at helping raise awareness and funding for cancer research. During this relay-race-style run, participants will take turns sprinting with the opening game ball from Ann Arbor to Columbus—a 186-mile journey.
The run was instituted in 2004 after the University of Michigan chapter wanted to find a unique way of fulfilling their philanthropy. After several brothers from both houses had experiences with the debilitating disease, the fraternities pooled their efforts to create the event benefiting the American Cancer Society (ACS).
“Everyone is affected by cancer, and we wanted to start up a new tradition in memory of one of our graduate brothers after he passed away, as well as others close to our fraternity that have been impacted by it,” said Steven Zehring, a junior finance major and organizer of the OSU portion of the event.
The yearly festivity has been extremely successful despite its short existence. In its initial year, the fraternities raised $15,000 after setting a preliminary goal of $10,000. In 2005, the joint effort produced a whopping $25,000. That year, members from both chapters, accompanied by former Buckeye great Eddie George, presented the check to the ACS on the field at Michigan’s “Big House.”
This year, with enhanced support from chief sponsors Brenen’s Café, Kroger, Buckeye Real Estate and Chase Bank, Phi Gamma Delta has set a goal of $35,000.
A ceremony to formally donate the check to the ACS will then be held at the Skull Session—the OSU marching band’s final rehearsal held at St. John Arena two hours before every Buckeye home game. Richard A. Hollingsworth, interim vice president for student affairs, will also be on hand to speak about Fiji’s contributions to the community.
To achieve their ambitious target, about 120 participants—approximately 80 from Michigan and 40 from OSU—will run an estimated two to three miles each until they reach The Horseshoe in Columbus. More students from Michigan will be taking part because their Fiji fraternity has a larger membership than at Ohio State.
Students from Michigan will start the event by running the game ball to Findlay, Ohio, located about an hour and 45 minutes northwest of Columbus by car. There, Michigan students will hand off the ball to OSU students, who will then run for the remainder of the trek. Each portion of the run takes about 14 hours by foot. Runners for the first half of the run are scheduled to begin at approximately 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.
For more information about the FIJI Rivalry Run, or to make a donation, check out their website at: http://therivalryrun.com/osu/acs.html.