NMU fraternity pushes bathtub across the U.P. to raise funds for charity

Tau Kappa Epsilon – NMU sponsors ‘Tub Push’ for Beacon House MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) is gearing up to push a bathtub on wheels 165 miles from Sault Ste. Marie to Marquette to raise funds and awareness for Beacon House. You heard that right, a bathtub....

Tau Kappa Epsilon – NMU sponsors ‘Tub Push’ for Beacon House


MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) is gearing up to push a bathtub on wheels 165 miles from Sault Ste. Marie to Marquette to raise funds and awareness for Beacon House. You heard that right, a bathtub.

The goal of this event is to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as well as one local non-profit organization in Marquette, Michigan. This year Tau Kappa Epsilon is choosing to partner with the Beacon House of Marquette.

“This is such a unique and fun way to raise funds,” says Beacon House Public Relations Manager Andrew Lorinser. “It’s great Yoopers find creative ways to give to charity with completely outside the box thinking. Pushing a tub across the U.P. sounds grueling, but so fun. We love anyone that wants to keep the fun in fundraiser. Beacon House is excited for the push and so grateful Tau Kappa Epsilon – NMU chose us as the beneficiary this year.”

With over 199,000 guest night stays being provided since Beacon House opened in June 2002, the mission of Beacon House is to provide lodging and other supportive services in a “home-like” environment for caregivers traveling to Marquette County for medical treatment. The funds raised will help Beacon House’s $6 million ‘Legacy of Love’ capital campaign goal. Beacon House has raised just short of $800,000 of the $3 million goal on phase one of a new building.

The Tub Push is a tradition that is shrouded in mystery, but trekking highways for causes is believed to go back nearly a century. In April of 1921 members of the Fraternity at The Ohio State University made their way to the Conclave in Madison, Wisconsin. At the conclusion of the vote granting their charter as Omicron Chapter, one of the members pulled from his pants pocket a rusty horseshoe which the fraters had picked up along the way. Believing that the horseshoe had granted the chapter good luck, the tradition began to pass the horseshoe down to each chapter.

The route is adapted to the fraternity chapters. How it turned into pushing a bath tub along the way is unknown, but TKE has been doing the fundraiser for the past several years.

“The horseshoe is a key symbol of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and the journey that the members of The Ohio State University took has inspired our chapter, as well as many others, to start a walk/run event to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a local organization,” says TKE NMU President, Michael Kolbus.

To accomplish this, the brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon will start their push in Sault St. Marie, Michigan on the morning of Friday April 20th, and walk/run the 165 miles non-stop, ending at Beacon House sometime on Saturday afternoon.

“When shifts are over you can hardly walk, your back hurts, and your legs won’t stop shaking,” says Kolbus. “But the bonding experience we have with our brothers and the community is worth every ounce of effort put into this event.”

Tau Kappa Epsilon structures itself after six pillars: scholarship, leadership, character, service, teamwork, and brotherhood. Kolbus says from the character it takes to push through the long day of running, to the bonding our members receive during the event, the Tub Push represents most of TKE’s pillars, making it one of the most important events they do every year.

“Tub Push, for me, is about more than just shoving a bathtub along the side of a highway – it’s about simplification,” says TKE alumnus RJ Parrish. “Tau Kappa Epsilon stands for creating Better Men for a Better World. It’s a grand vision, but sometimes it can be difficult to have a practical way of working towards achieving it. Tub Push makes it simple. There are great causes that require increased awareness and funding. We help them achieve those things by setting aside a weekend and doing something that will get people talking, and bond with our brothers while doing it.”

Beacon House says the 165-mile trek from Sault St. Marie, Michigan can be symbolic of the journey many their guests take to travel to Marquette from across the region for emergency critical medical care.

“We serve patients and families across the entire Upper Peninsula, so this fundraiser is a good fit,” says Lorinser. “TKE has our full support, we are appreciative of all they’ve done and we’ll be joining them and cheering along the way.”

TKE – NMU has set up a crowd funding website for those interested in donating to the event. To give visit tiny.cc/tkebeacon. A small reception and push-finish will be held at Beacon House on Saturday April 21st in the afternoon as the brothers make their way into Marquette.

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Tau Kappa Epsilon is one of the largest collegiate men’s social fraternities in North America with over 272,000 members and 245 active chapters and colonies. Thier mission is to aid men in their moral, social, professional and educational development. The Theta Iota Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was founded on February 18, 1961. The fraternity values Scholarship, Character, Leadership, Teamwork, Service, and Brotherhood.

Beacon House becomes a “home away from home” for patients and families that travel across the U.P. to receive specialty medical care at U.P. Health System – Marquette and the Upper Peninsula Medical Center. The private, nonprofit, donation-based organization ensures that families never have to ask, “Where am I going to stay and how am I ever going to be able to afford it?” during a medical crisis.