Theta Chi hosts first Zombie Run fundraiser

Students run in a 4K loop starting at Fletcher Field and ending at the Res Quad. Grace Cooper / The Tufts Daily

Tufts fraternity Theta Chi hosted its first-ever Zombie Run, a 4 km fundraising run starting from Fletcher Field, winding through campus and ending at the Res Quad, to raise money and awareness for the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute this past Sunday.

The event attracted over 100 participants, including an appearance by University President Anthony Monaco, and raised over $2000 for Dana-Farber, according to Theta Chi Philanthropy Chairman Evan Balmuth.

Theta Chi Volunteer Coordinator Colin Burnett described the atmosphere of the event as “scarily enthusiastic.”

“I just loved watching it because once everyone was in zombie makeup, everyone was comparing, taking pictures; it was great,” Burnett, a junior, said. “To be able to put that fun, creative aspect into a run with athletes and non-athletes alike … was just an enjoyable, enthusiastic experience.”

Theta Chi brothers worked alongside members from Tufts sororities Alpha Omicron Pi and Kappa Alpha Theta to apply zombie makeup for those who presented a “zombie” ticket, rather than a “living human” ticket, according to Balmuth, a junior.

For the main event, humans ran in front of the zombies to create a “chasing dynamic,” he said. After the run, participants went to the ResQuad to enjoy food and music.

Balmuth underscored the importance of community participation, as JP Licks donated ice cream for all the participants, and Pranzi’s Pizza contributed a monetary donation. The Leonard Carmichael Society and Student Life Fund also helped to make the event possible. Such support yielded an incredible atmosphere and impressive fundraising result, Balmuth added.

He explained that all the brothers played an active role in running and supporting the Zombie Run, with Balmuth and Philanthropy Co-Chair Noah Habeeb, who is also an executive copy editor at the Daily, doing much of the underlying work.

“When it comes to actually executing and getting people to buy tickets or spreading the word, it really takes everyone in the brotherhood,” Balmuth said. “[The philanthropy chairs] really can’t put on a whole event — it has to be everyone in the organization contributing in some way.”

Barton Liang, Theta Chi public relations chair, explained that one of the most effective ways they found to sell tickets, besides personal interactions, was through social media. Theta Chi brothers were also able to further spread awareness for the Dana-Farber institute through links and videos.

“[Theta Chi] has a Facebook page and also a separate event page,” he said. “On top of that, we also have a Zombie Run Twitter and Instagram just to engage on a more casual level. [Theta Chi’s] tweets are all, ‘Oh, we will have zombies running around today. Keep an eye out for us!’”

Liang, a junior, also emphasized the practical and personal reasons why Dana-Farber was a perfect candidate for Theta Chi’s support.

“One key thing [Theta Chi] wanted was that all the money we gave [Dana-Farber] would actually go to treatment research and not administrative overhead,” he said. “Dana-Farber was the perfect fit for that. [Theta Chi] has a perfect connection to the institute with brothers working there in the past, brothers being affected by [cancer], and [Dana-Farber] is a very reputable and very efficient charity organization.”

The connection Theta Chi has with Dana-Farber is not limited to this run, according to Liang. Beyond personal connections and past time spent with the institute, brothers dedicated free time to further explore organizations that are associated with Dana-Farber.

“A couple of weeks ago, we sent a bunch of brothers to the Hope Lodge, which is partially sponsored by Dana-Farber,” Liang said. “[Hope Lodge] provides housing to people who are receiving cancer treatment in the Boston area and live more than 40 miles away.”

Liang emphasized the importance of getting involved in a program that is so important to them.

“Being able to support a cause that does so much and is so near and dear to our hearts is … important to [Theta Chi],” he said.