Baylor Tri Delta named #1 chapter in fundraising for St. Jude

Baylor Tri Delta president senior Allison Malcolm and senior philanthropy chair Chandler Oestereich at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Photo credit: Chandler Oestereich

When Keller senior Tri Delta Philanthropy Chair Chandler Oestereich’s phone rang this summer, she said she wasn’t expecting the news she received from the other line.

This summer, Baylor Tri Delta was named the #1 in the nation for raising the most money for St. Jude. The group was in the top five in the nation the previous year, and had never been ranked before that.

“I was blown away and honored and humbled by that number, I never foresaw that number coming for our chapter,” Oestereich said. “I had to tell the chapter over email because it was summertime, but just seeing the girls post right away and seeing their hearts behind all of the hours of fundraising that they did, it was just confirmation that all of the hours put in were worth it.”

Tri Delta fundraises in multiple ways over the school year. Their first big event of the every school year is Tri Delta gameday, a tailgating watch party that takes place while the football team is playing on the road one weekend. This year on September 30, for the first time ever, the event will be taking place in McLane stadium, giving participants the opportunity to watch the game on the big screen from the field.

Another popular all-university event that Tri Delta puts on is Delta Night Live. Beginning two years ago, Tri Delta brings in a performer (in spring 2017 it was Texas country artist Wade Bowen) and sells wristbands for admission in order to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year, members worked with local businesses to gain donations so that every bit of money coming from this event was able to be donated to St. Jude. This event alone raised $22,000 in the spring, according to Oestereich.

The biggest fundraising event, however, is member exclusive. In February, all members gather together for their Sincerely Yours campaign. Each member writes 50 letters explaining what St. Jude means to them and asking for donations. This year, Baylor Tri Delta sent out over 14,000 letters, according to Oestereich.

“They’re all basic letters that St. Jude gives us, however our chapter feels that we fundraise more if we put our own personal message within them,” Oestereich explained.

Pearland junior Maddie Deyo has an extra special connection with St. Jude that she gets to include in her letters.

“St. Jude is really close to my heart because my dad works there,” Deyo said. “He’s a pediatric hematologist oncologist, so I’ve grown up around the St. Jude hospital. I volunteered there a lot as a kid, and have gotten to hear my dad’s stories about patients. St. Jude is so special because they’re so much more than a hospital.”

St. Jude tries to go the extra mile, whether it’s bringing in Christmas gifts and Santa during the holidays, or making check in counters kid-sized so that kids are able to check themselves in and get a sense of importance and responsibility.

Families who stay at St. Jude never get a bill, whether it’s for treatment, food they need, or a place to sleep. Tri Delta nationally raised enough money to donate an entire building, Tri Delta Place, a short term residence where families are able to stay from three weeks to three months. In 2014, Tri Delta nationally made a goal to raise 60 million dollars for St. Jude in ten years, according to the Tri Delta page on St. Jude’s website. Because of hard working chapters such as Baylor’s, they are now on track to meet that goal in almost half that time, according to Oestereich.

“I think philanthropy does a great job of showing that our organization has a bigger cause than just being social,” Deyo said. “We are a social organization, but we have a higher calling and a purpose that we can all get behind. It’s definitely something that unifies Panhellenic and makes us have more of a servants heart. This isn’t about boys, this isn’t about reputation, this isn’t about t-shirts, or looking pretty. This is about something bigger than me, and helping others.”

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