Throwback to Derby Days with Rob Valdes-Rodriquez ('16)

Catch up on what you missed from this year’s Derby Days -- Sigma Chi’s huge annual philanthropy event -- with this week's Campus Cutie, Rob Valdes-Rodriguez!
Her Campus (HC): What is Derby Days?
Rob Valdes-Rodriquez (RV): Derby Days is Sigma Chi’s week-long philanthropy event. We do it every spring. It is a series of fundraisers to support Brenner Children’s Hospital. 
HC: Tell me more about the events!
RV: We always have four different events Monday through Thursday. Last year we started Monday off with a volleyball tournament. We figured that on Mondays, it can be hard to get everyone to the volleyball courts at Last Resort. We ended up moving Monday's event onto campus this year and did a trivia night. That was pretty awesome. Tuesday, we do field events, which is great -- right after classes, everyone comes around to the lounge. We have a number of activities, whether it’s the pie eating contest, jousting, or mackerel slap. The events help raise awareness and get people excited for the week. On Wednesday, we typically do a concert, but this year we went straight to the dances. The dances help raise awareness and raise money for the cause. 
HC: How did Derby Days come about?
RV: It started in 1933 at University of California-Berkeley. It began as a skit competition -- it wasn't even a philanthropy event yet. In 1935, at University of Tennessee-Knoxville, it was a series of track and field competitions. In the 1960s, it became a nation wide event where all Sigma Chis across the country participate in Derby Days. It is now a nationwide effort!
HC: Does each Sigma Chi chapter have the same Derby Days events?
RV: I know the events vary from chapter to chapter, but a lot of the events stay pretty similar. There are field events and Airbands at most schools. Each one has their own twist.
HC: What was your role in Derby Days?
RV: I was the chairman with Nick Hanna. We had a board this year within the fraternity, and we led the board through the four different days. We helped organize and plan the week to get the most out of the week: the most fundraising, the most excitement, the most fun on campus.
HC: How did you guys do with fundraising this year?
RV: We did so much better than the past year! We were so pumped! In the past years, we have raised between $10,000-$15,000; this year we implemented the Derby Days board. So, instead of having just two people run it, we had about seven to ten people involved. This year, we raised $23,000-$25,000. It was amazing! Five thousand dollars went to the sorority with the most points, which was Chi Omega. The rest goes to Brenner Children’s Hospital. 
HC: What do all the brothers do to participate in Derby Days?
RV: We had the Derby Days committee to plan and organize [the events for] each day. Outside the committee, each brother is appointed to a sorority as a head coach. Their job is to relay information to the sorority, build excitement, and compete alongside that sorority. They are in it to win it, too. They want to win each event and get the most points. We get every brother involved with a sorority and get them involved for the week.
HC: What is your favorite part of Derby Days?
RV: I love planning the week. Nick and I have been meeting since the summer to plan how to bring more excitement to the week. Once the week started, I would say my favorite part were the field events. Everyone is there and excited. All the sororities and fraternities in one place. It’s fun bouncing around from event to event. Everyone is cheering.
HC: What happened the last time you had a really good laugh?
RV: I would say the Banshees show! Ben Levine up there giving the football coach skit -- I thought that was the funniest thing! That was awesome! They are so funny. They killed that show (laughs).
HC: What song is the soundtrack to your life?
RV: I’m jokingly  thinking “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” because I always like to have a good time. I can’t think of a serious soundtrack to my life that fully encompasses everything that I am about. So, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”!
HC: Are you a beach, country, or city person?
RV: I studied abroad in Barcelona and that got me to love the city. I have never lived in a city before. I would say that I’m a beach person. It’s where I feel at peace. That’s where I have the most fun and everyone is hanging out.
HC: Were you there for a semester in Barcelona?

RV: I was there for fall semester of my junior year. I could go on forever. Barcelona. Abroad. I was with all my best friends, and we were traveling around the world. Jumping from country to country. Flying on the planes together. We were doing everything together. That was my favorite part -- being able to travel with them. Abroad is literally the best time you will ever have. 
HC: What are you most looking forward to before the end of the semester?
RV: Posties! I can’t wait for posties. I can’t wait to be back in Myrtle. That’s the time everyone is done with finals, releases stress, and hangs out. There are other schools there [too]. It’s a fun time. I’m really excited for that, and Senior Week. It’s cool to hang with everyone in the senior class because we have such a cool class. It’s going to be awesome to have one more week before we graduate. 

Check out more pictures from this year's Derby Days!

*Photos courtesy of Rob Valdes-Rodriguez