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TKEs join hands for the final leg of their keg roll.
Col­legian Archives

Greek houses in Hillsdale are known for their phil­an­thropy events. Kappa Kappa Gamma hosts Cupcake Wars, Chi Omega hosts a pancake breakfast and Sigma Chi holds Derby Days. 

During the 1980s, fra­ternity Tau Kappa Epsilon blended its fundraising with another aspect of fra­ternity life: kegs. 

On Nov. 6, 1980, Col­legian staff writer Michael Lord wrote, “The TKE ‘Keg Roll’ for St. Jude Children’s Research Hos­pital ended this past Sat­urday, November 1st, with what can be labeled a ver­i­table success.” 

He con­tinued, “The 20 hour marathon was esti­mated to have tra­versed a total of 125 miles around the Hillsdale campus area. The keg was kept rolling the entire time by TKE members, including guest celebrity Randy Champion who ran a late night leg of the marathon.”

Basi­cally, the fra­ternity rolled a keg in a loop around Hillsdale’s campus. 

An Oct. 15, 1981 article in The Col­legian described this process. 

The article read, “The keg rolled from 10:00 p.m. on Friday, all through the night, until 2:00 p.m. on Sat­urday when it rolled on to the home­coming football field. The keg rolled about 100 miles. Starting from the TKE house it rolled south on West St. to the ‘Green­house’ where it turned east to Hillsdale St.”

This tactic proved to be sur­pris­ingly suc­cessful.

On Oct. 15, 1981 The Col­legian reported, “This fall’s effort by the TKE Iota Nu Chapter raised approx­i­mately $1,500.”

Earlier that month on Oct. 8, 1981, Liz Viviano reported “They were also pre­sented with the ODK Award for their keg roll.”

The event was an all-house ordeal.

On Oct. 15, 1981 The Col­legian quoted TKE Pres­ident Steve Lord: “Everybody in the fra­ternity did some­thing to help out. Whether it was actually pulling the keg, raising dona­tions, orga­nizing, or adver­tising each member helped out. Members were encouraged with free ‘keg roll’ T‑shirts for those who raised a large sum of money and for those who ran the keg in the dreadful early morning hours.” 

As the event grew more and more suc­cessful, the TKEs began talks of expanding it. 

Lord said, “There was also serious talk among TKE members of stretching the 125 mile marathon into a one-way effort to downtown Detroit.” 

Unfor­tu­nately, there are no further reports on this and we can only assume that these plans were never realized. 

As the new semester begins, there is always room for more phil­an­thropy events. Which fra­ternity is brave enough to bring the keg roll back?