Last Saturday, Case Western Reserve University fraternity Beta Theta Pi hosted the Stephan P. Arnold Chariot Races on the Engineering Quad. When homemade wooden chariots pulled by CWRU students were not racing on the sidewalk, a cappella groups performed for the students sitting in the shade and visiting information tables on the grass. These information tables were part of this year’s updated event, which supported the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland.
The chariot races are named in honor of a fraternity brother and CWRU alumnus who died from a diabetes-related heart condition soon after his graduation in 1984. Beta Theta Pi has hosted a philanthropy event in Arnold’s memory for 29 years, but this year the event got an update.
“This was a cause-focused event,” said Nicholas DeFelice, Beta Theta Pi’s philanthropy chair.
The fraternity used to have a charity walk, but this year decided to host chariot races instead, while also refocusing their event to support a diabetes charity.
According to the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland, which has served the Cleveland area since 1954, one in two people with diabetes is undiagnosed. Diabetes rates in Cleveland are significantly higher than the national average, as one in eight adults have the disease. The high rates of diabetes in the area make it especially important for people to be aware of their health in general, noted Beta Theta Pi brother Nathan Budge.
The updated event was more popular than in recent years.
“We would get about 25 students from outside of Beta,” said DeFelice, “and this year we got more than 100.”
The chariot races drew a bigger crowd for the fraternity’s message to reach, and DeFelice said that he considered the event a success.
Katie McNitt, a sophomore and member of Delta Gamma, also felt that the event was successful. The Delta Gamma chariot team, which pulled a decorated red wagon, placed first in the races.
“It’s important to support our community,” she said, “and it was a great time.”