Keene State College’s Lambda Sigma, a local chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) International Fraternity showed their support for breast cancer research by wearing bras over their clothing from March 9-13.
Flyers advertising the fundraising event, named ‘Bras for Breast Cancer,’ described breast cancer as “the second most common cancer in women and men worldwide.”
According to the American Cancer Society’s website, it also says “about one in eight, or twelve percent, of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.”
A member of TKE, Richard Pelchar, a sophomore and sustainable project design and innovation major, stated how the point of ‘Bras for Breast Cancer’ was not only to raise awareness for the horrible disease, but also to gain donations to help find a cure.
The fraternity’s risqué fundraising tactic initially began in 2011, according to Pelchar.
During the week of ‘Bras for Breast Cancer,’ Pelchar stated, “The brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon will walk around campus wearing bras over our shirts.”
He added, “Naturally, people will notice and ask why. Then we’ll explain that it’s a fundraiser for breast cancer and suggest people donate by stuffing our bras with money.”
Jeremiah Miller, a senior and film production major and TKE member, said the fraternity decided to use the means of wearing ladies’ undergarments over their clothing for an entire week as a fundraising method because of how different it is from other fundraisers.
“It catches the eye and sparks an interest. Once that initial interest is sparked, I think it has the potential to start a conversation and motivate others to get involved in making a difference,” Miller stated.
Miller explained that it is not only fun for his fellow students to see the brothers of TKE walking around in bras, but also for the brothers themselves, especially because it’s not every day they get to go bra shopping.
“All of the brothers have a good time finding flashy, funny bras to wear that extenuate their personalities,” he said.
Pelchar noted not all brothers participate in the event because the fundraiser is voluntary.
“The goal is to have all of the brothers [wear bras]. Participation is key in order to raise as much money as possible,” he said.
Aside from the opportunity to make a fashion statement, Pelchar stated the ridiculousness of ‘Bras for Breast Cancer’ allows the brothers to discuss breast cancer with fellow students and raise “a sizable amount of donations.”
“We always try to raise more money than we did the previous year,” Pelchar said.
“It’s a successful event and it’s certainly a spectacle for everyone on campus,” he added.
Although no one knew exactly how much TKE has raised for breast cancer, they all said it was a “sizeable amount.”
Miller also noted that 100 percent of the donations made this year would be going to The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Nick Molnar, a sophomore who has been a member of the fraternity for almost a year, said he joined TKE partly because of their involvement in the community.
“[TKE] is constantly looking for new community service opportunities. ‘Bras for Breast Cancer’ is just one of the many events that we hold each year to raise funds for various organizations,” Molnar said.
Molnar explained how this particular fundraising event is one of his favorites the fraternity does.
“It gives us more opportunity to be social and ridiculous. Not only are we fundraising for a great cause and being active in our organization, but I also get to look ridiculous with my friends and meet people,” he stated.
Rachael Levy, a junior and nutrition major, said she views ‘Bras for Breast Cancer’ as a smart and fun way to raise money and awareness.
“I’ve seen TKE members on campus wearing bras in past years, but wasn’t ever quite sure why they were doing it. After having the concept explained to me, I think it’s a great idea. It’s not every day you see grown men wearing bras stuffed with money in public,” she explained.
Miller expressed hopes for ‘Bras for Breast Cancer’ to motivate other students to become more active in raising awareness and donating to breast cancer research.
“If grown men are willing to wear undergarments on the outside of their clothing, others will ask themselves why they can’t go out and make a difference too,” he said.
Claire Hickey can be contacted at email@example.com