derby days 2017.jpg

Students participate in Derby Days, 2017.

The LMU chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity is preparing to host “Take Back the Night,” an event to raise awareness and money for victims of sexual assault.

The event will be held at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 25, on the first night of Sigma Chi’s annual “Derby Days” week. Derby Days is a weeklong philanthropy event raising money for charities, with most chapters focusing on donating to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. However, Sigma Chi raises money for additional organizations, with a heavy emphasis on the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center.

“We’ve always been focused on sexual assault,” said Marco Casadont, junior finance major and a Sigma Chi member who is co-chairing the event. “That’s been the number one thing that we’ve focused Derby Days around.”

Sigma Chi not only hopes to raise $25,000 over the course of the week, but also to get LMU students and faculty to rally around the issue.

“We are challenging the LMU community to come out and stand in solidarity and in support with victims of sexual assault,” said Marc Brockwell, junior screenwriting major and Casadont’s co-chair.

The event will begin at Burns Back Court and will feature sexual assault survivors speaking about their ordeals.

“That’s a very powerful event, a very somber kind of experience,” Brockwell explained.

This will lead into a candlelight vigil processing from Burns Back Court to the steps of the chapel on campus, where LMU’s ministry team will lead a prayer.

The Derby Days week has been a part of Sigma Chi’s philanthropy work since 1933. Take Back the Night has been held at LMU by Sigma Chi for many years as well, but Brockwell and Casadont hope to inject new life and energy into it.

“Marco and I can put our stamp on this event and make it the best that we can,” Brockwell said. “We’re not taking it lightly.”

Both Brockwell and Casadont hope that the event draws as many people from LMU as possible.

“We want this to be a big, landmark event, especially for this school [in] this current culture,” Brockwell said.

Ultimately, the primary goal for the event is to raise awareness of sexual assault and create a culture of solidarity at LMU.

“[Sexual assault] can be a very traumatic thing and it can be something that gives you this feeling that you’re alone,” Brockwell said. “Having people out there, having people that support you through it is the biggest thing.”

Alex Hutton is a senior journalism major from Oakland, California. He is a diehard fan of the Warriors, Giants, 49ers, Sharks, Cal Bears and LMU Lions. He lists getting his plays produced and meeting Paul McCartney as among his current life goals.

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