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Sigma Pi and Up 'til Dawn MSU host first pancake eating contest for charity

March 24, 2014
<p>Mathematics sophomore Jeffrey Cortese pours syrup onto his pancakes during a pancake eating contest March 24, 2014, at IHOP, 2771 E. Grand River Ave. The contest was hosted by Sigma Pi and MSU Up 'til Dawn and the proceeds went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Emily Jenks/The State News</p>

Mathematics sophomore Jeffrey Cortese pours syrup onto his pancakes during a pancake eating contest March 24, 2014, at IHOP, 2771 E. Grand River Ave. The contest was hosted by Sigma Pi and MSU Up 'til Dawn and the proceeds went to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Emily Jenks/The State News

Photo by Emily Jenks | The State News

Sigma Pi fraternity and Up 'til Dawn MSU,  a student organization devoted to raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, teamed up to hold their first pancake eating contest at IHOP, 2771 E. Grand River Ave.

From 5-9 p.m., students filed in and out of the restaurant’s doors to indulge in mass amounts of pancakes for a $5 fee. Attendees could compete in one of the competition’s multiple heats that were held throughout the evening.

A section of the restaurant was blocked off specifically for the contest. About 20 contestants per round gathered at a long table.

For 30 minutes, waiters brought out stacks of pancakes to contestants. Plates were rarely left empty for long as contestants doused their stacks with syrup and swiftly shoved bite after bite into their mouths.

Criminal justice junior Barry Szczesny broke the East Lansing IHOP’s record of 24 pancakes while participating in the event.

Szczesny ate 26 pancakes in 30 minutes.

“I’m really struggling right now,” Szczesny said.

IHOP donated $100 in the name of the overall winner to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. 20 percent of all proceeds made during the evening were also donated to the hospital.

A box also was left out for anyone who wished to leave an extra donation and donations can be filed at Up ‘til Dawn’s page on the St. Jude website.

“I’m glad we could do this event because those kids inspire me,” said human biology junior and Up ‘til Dawn MSU executive director Tori Balogh.

Human biology junior Josh Green said it was a visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that sparked his desire to get involved with the organization in the first place.

“I went to the hospital and saw the children and every kid there was happy, even though they could die,” said Green, who is the assistant director of Up ‘til Dawn and a member of Sigma Pi. “It’s one of the best organizations in the world.”

According to its website, the internationally-recognized hospital and research facility treats children with cancer and other serious diseases.

Green said they devoted around two months of planning to the event. Up ‘til Dawn MSU already has an annual event they hold during the fall semester, but an offer from the IHOP manager to help put together a pancake eating contest prompted Green to ask Sigma Pi if they would help them bring it all together.

“When you show how much you care, people are usually willing to give a piece of themselves, too,” said Alec Winter, a business junior and the Sigma Pi philanthropy chair.

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