With four days of events, bake sales, food and more, the Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) fraternity chapter is raising money for “graduate brother” Hugh Marshall, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Culminating in the day-long “Hugh-B-Que” on Saturday, April 21, “Fiji Islander Week’s” proceeds will go towards Marshall’s treatment and therapy.
The Fiji brothers promoted the project on Wednesday, April 18 by handing out flyers and information on the main quad. Thursday was their “Pie a Phi Gam” event, where students donated five dollars to throw pie at a Fiji brother of their choosing.
Today, the brothers will host a bake sale on the front lawn of the Fiji house, and will also deliver cookies across campus. Additionally, students who purchase food at Bibibop Asian Grill will have 15 percent of their payment donated to Marshall’s fund.
Saturday’s “Hugh-B-Que” is in collaboration with the Phi Mu sorority. Marshall himself will grill ribs, chicken, burgers and other barbeque classics. For their donation, attendees can enjoy an entree, chips, a drink and dessert.
Even though he is not a student, Marshall is a Case Western Reserve University employee who began his work with the university about 30 years ago. He pledged to the Fiji chapter shortly afterwards.
Second-year student and Fiji Treasurer Igor Tutelman commented on Marshall’s involvement with the fraternity.
“For people that are sort of in the community and involved, if they still want to join us, they can join us as a graduate brother,” Tutelman said. “We don’t have alumni per se [because] we’re all still brothers at the end of the day.”
Marshall has made a lasting impression with both Fiji and the CWRU community at large. Aside from working as an athletic equipment manager, Marshall enjoys planting flowers and doing other landscaping projects.
A cornerstone of his impact is the connection he established between Fiji and Phi Mu, a relationship which Tutelman said “[is] nice to have. The [sorority sisters] of Phi Mu love [Marshall] because he’s just a fantastic guy.”
This is a sentiment which others echo strongly.
“Prior to this semester, I had one interaction with [Marshall] and he had a great personality,” said first-year student and Fiji Philanthropy Chair Matthew Pukansky. “It was kind of electric. Like, you couldn’t feel sad around him. He has such a great outlook on life.”
Together, Pukansky and Tutelman have handled the planning and logistics of Islander Week. They have already raised over $4,000, which they say is more money than the chapter has raised through philanthropy over the past ten years combined. The money was raised from individual fundraising, a Greek crowdfunding platform called CrowdChange and more.
This is the largest fundraising undertaking the chapter has executed in its history at CWRU, so finding the resources to carry it out presented its challenges.
According to Pukansky, “The hardest part about [planning the fundraiser] was learning [and] trying to discover what I needed to plan, logistic-wise and stuff like that, because having not done something like this in a while, I didn’t have anyone giving me a clear direction.”
Looking at the results of the philanthropy thus far, it appears that Pukansky and Tutelman have the planning aspect under control. Judging by the close and supportive nature of the fraternity brothers, it is no surprise they rallied around Marshall’s cause full-force.
“There are 40 [brothers], and I can honestly say I have 39 best friends,” Tutelman said. “We are all supporting each other, even after we graduate. For example, with [Marshall, he] wasn’t even an undergraduate brother, but we still support him just like anybody else. We try to stay close with our graduate brothers.”
At the end of the day, Tutelman said that Marshall’s presence has been his greatest impact on the fraternity. He went on to recount a time when Marshall made him feel optimistic after a particularly difficult exam, complimenting him for always “being here.”
Fiji hopes to present Marshall with a check at the end of the week to help cover some of his treatment costs. A portion of the funds raised will also go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
In essence, Islander Week is Fiji’s way of giving back to a brother who has given them so much over the years.