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Theta Tau Unleashes Fun, Philanthropy at Corgi Race

Photo of Corgi wearing Purdue gear

Purdue Theta Tau has been making a tangible difference in South Africa for the last six years through a fun event that engages the community.

The Corgi Race, an event at the Grand Prix track hosted on October 22, inspires students who attend to have a better day watching our furry friends tear up the track and raises funds for impoverished children. At Purdue, students are not only encouraged to receive a degree, but to do what they can to make a difference in the world. Theta Tau takes this challenge to heart, going above and beyond with their philanthropic and engaging race.

Approximately 60-65 corgis race every year and are organized by weight class and age. The first round of the race includes puppies who are below 8 pounds. Each round increases by weight size and for the final race, winners from each weight class are pooled into a single race to determine the four-legged champion.  A great aspect of this race is the costume competition and talent show that the diligent dogs compete in. Outfits range from bumble bees to dinosaurs and the dogs are given the chance to show off their special skills. Champions are announced from each category. The most fashionable corgi and talented corgi take home the prize of bragging rights.

corgi-race-start-2023.jpgLeading up to the race, attendants were able to get to know the athletes on the Purdue Corgi Race Instagram. Each pup-lete is introduced on its own slide, each slide providing the dog’s name, age, owner, social media handle and a fun fact that makes them special.

Purdue Theta Tau raises funds for Give Hope, Fight Poverty. Preston Knapp, the philanthropy chair of Theta Tau majoring in aerospace engineering, says “Give Hope, Fight Poverty is an Indianapolis-based program that helps children from Eswatini get food. It genuinely benefits people in need.”

According to UNAIDS data, Eswatini has the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the world, leaving many children orphaned and in need. Give Hope, Fight Poverty has adoption opportunities, provides solar lighting, hosts donation drives and much more.

There are many moving parts involved in organizing such a prolific event and Knapp happily takes on the challenge. Though he has just started his position as philanthropy chair this semester, he has experience in leadership roles for Theta Tau. One of his responsibilities as the philanthropy chair is coordinating the Corgi Race. Knapp was highly motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of students involved as well as in the world.corgi_on_wheels_2023.jpg

There are many different aspects to consider when planning a philanthropy event. Knapp goes over the implementation process.

“The first and most important step is creating and getting the activity planning form approved,” Knapp explains. “The SAO (Student Activities and Organizations) office requires a work order to use the Grand Prix track and it is essential to confirm that all dogs are up to date on their vaccinations. Also, getting the event off the ground and runnable requires sourcing the corgis, marketing the event and encouraging my fraternity to volunteer at the event.”


When asked why the race was specifically for corgis, Knapp takes the time to reflect on the history of the event.

“Sage Musson founded the club six years ago,” he says. “She had a corgi at the time and wanted a fun way to give back to the community. You also can’t deny how cute corgis are.”

 Though she has graduated, Musson returns to campus annually to help out with the Corgi Race and reconnect with her roots as a Purdue Alumna.

There are two main avenues to get involved with the race, held annually in October. To enter your corgi to race, go to their Instagram and fill out the QR code. To attend the event next year, either buy tickets online from Instagram or Facebook, or buy tickets at the gate. Viewers of the race not only get the benefit of an action-packed competition, but also have the chance to interact with the dogs post-race.

Written by: Hannah Williamson, Writing and Communications Intern, Student Life Marketing