"This is a perfect example to illustrate that community service doesn't always have to feel like pulling teeth," Boyd says, and service is "important to the tradition of Phi Kappa Tau."
Scott Duzan, senior and Phi Tau president, says this is "an unconventional way for us to help the kids at the Hole in the Wall camps, but it's fun and exciting and at the same time we're making a positive impact."
Boyd, a Danville native, went to the race his freshman year, but since he spent the next fall abroad, had to wait until this year before he could get his brothers involved.
The Phi Taus have put a lot of time and effort into building their vehicle. Caldwell Stone and Rexel Southern donated the parts and labor to weld together a metal frame with three bike wheels. The outhouse, named "Prairie Dog Runner," is constructed out of cardboard and tape "to keep the net weight down," Boyd says.
The team will consist of five: one passenger and four to push. They must travel 300 feet down a level, paved road, switch out the passenger with one of the pushers, then turn back and head toward the finish line.
Drew Lally, sophomore and public relations chair for the fraternity, says he has had a lot of fun working on this project and it is "hopefully something we'll do every year." Duzan described the building process "as a way to come together as brothers."
They have been donating around $5,000 a year
The team is collecting donations from friends and family of the fraternity as well as local businesses. They also will have a booth with pamphlets about their philanthropy as well as other fundraising opportunities. This is just one of the projects Phi Tau does to help the Hole in the Wall Gang. Once each semester, they work for Turf Catering at Keeneland and give all their profits to the charity. For the past several years, they have been able to donate about $5,000 to $6,000, a big help to cover the $1,400 cost to send one child to camp.
Evan Brothers, a junior, has volunteered at the summer camp before and describes it as "the sort of thing that changes people's lives." Brothers says the camp provides "a camp experience where otherwise there wouldn't have one"; it is a chance for them to "just be kids and be at camp." The children he worked with this summer still send him drawings and letters in the mail. Brothers feels this philanthropy is a good fit with his fraternity brothers, who enjoy working with children. Several Phi Taus are involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Phi Tau also does a lot of service in the community as well. Last weekend, they helped to clean up along U.S. 127.
Although the Phi Taus are excited to help their philanthropy, they're also looking forward to the race.
"We intend to win," says junior Ben Angel. The fraternity hopes that some of their cross country brothers will be able to help. If not, Boyd "hopes inertia will be in our corner."
For more information on the Hole in the Wall Gang, go online to www.holeinthewallgang.org.