FIJI knocks out cancer for philanthropy event

img_4530“We all know that it takes a fight to beat cancer, and you need people in your corner,” University of San Diego FIJI philanthropy chair, Owen Lewis said.

This Tuesday, USD held its first ever Greek-wide boxing tournament to raise money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The establishment of the event was inspired after a member of the fraternity lost his mother to cancer. The members of FIJI came together to show support for their brother and others who have been affected by cancer.

So, what better way to represent the fight for cancer than a boxing tournament?

The event featured one volunteer representative from each sorority and fraternity competing against each other for the title as USD Greek Life Boxing Champion. Each contestant was responsible for raising $100 in order to participate. All of the funds will be directly donated to The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Senior and boxing representative for Gamma Phi Beta Kierstyn Suda shared her excitement leading up to the event.

“I am really excited to participate in an event that is really fun and creative but also goes to a great cause,” Suda said.

“I think a lot of us know individuals who have been affected by cancer and it’s important to have events like these in the Greek community to raise awareness, and overall I think FIJI has done an awesome job.”

FIJI closely worked with USD administration to make sure the event remained safe and under control. Some of the measures taken to ensure the event was as safe as possible included the requirement of oversized gloves, the use of an inflatable boxing ring, and full body protective gear for each representative. There was also a separate weight class for those in the 170-200 pound weight range. FIJI hoped to keep the event as safe as possible, while maintaining the legitimacy and authenticity of a boxing tournament.

While all Greek events must gain approval from the administration side, this event raised more questions and concerns than usual due to the violent nature of a boxing tournament. Administration wanted to ensure that the boxing tournament would be a safe event to hold on USD’s campus, while also bringing together the Greek community and the student body as a whole.

Lewis shared how FIJI Knocks Out Cancer overcame skepticism from administration and how they intend to satisfy these needs.

“The answer to this is that both the administration and I had faith in the overwhelming benevolence of the people at USD,” Lewis said. “And that they will focus on the purpose of fighting together against a disease that affects so many, rather than turning this event into a testosterone-filled slug fest.”

The fraternity used the application “Tilt” to help sell tickets and raise money for the event. The fraternity pre-sold close to 400 tickets for the event and raised over $1,300 in general pre-donations. At the end of the night over $4,000 was raised for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Fans crowded the Sports Center Gym for the event Tuesday night. The eight fraternity men and eight sorority women competed head-to-head in an elimination style bracket until only one man and one woman were left standing. At the end of the night Jojo Simonson from Phi Kappa Theta had conquered the men’s bracket and Kierstyn Suda of Gamma Phi Beta had won the women’s competition.

Sophomore Goje Casey was excited to be at the event.

“It was super upbeat, and everyone was feeding off each other’s energy,” Casey said. “It was a super inclusive and well run event. FIJI did a great job getting everyone together and making it one of the more memorable events of the year.”

It is safe to say that FIJI’s philanthropy event was a knockout, and most students are hoping for the event to repeat again next year.

Written by Abby Gentry, Asst. News Editor