Frat readies for the tub push

MAR 18, 2024

Members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity gather around their Tub, taking a picture and getting ready for another 18 hour push. (Photo courtesy of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, the Theta-Iota chapter)

MARQUETTE — The Tau Kappa Epsilon Tub Push has been a staple for nearly 30 years in Marquette and Northern Michigan University, that is until five years ago when a car accident injured fraternity brothers and the tradition was stopped. Now the TKEs are braving the tradition once more, to help raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.

“The founder of St. Jude’s, Danny Thomas, was a TKE so when he got the hospital started it kind of made sense for us two groups to partner up and we have been doing that since I believe they opened in the ’70s,” said president of Tau Kappa Epsilon Theta-lota chapter Charlie Wissler.

The Tub Push started at Lake Superior State University where TKEs from NMU would push a bathtub for 48 to 72 hours all the way to LSSU in Sault Ste. Marie. Then the TKEs at LSSU would push it back, all to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, said Wissler.

“In 2019 we unfortunately had an accident on the Seney Stretch and that kind of put it on hold for a few years and last year I kind of got it back up and running. Instead of going to the Soo we just do it around campus,” said Wissler. In the three-car accident, the fraternity member pushing the tub and a member who was in an escort vehicle were taken to the hospital, but then another event would put the tradition on hold.

“When COVID came along, it kind of took the knees out of the chapter,” said Wissler.

Wissler then said he took it upon himself to ressurect this long-time tradition. Their first tub push since the accident was last year, and the fraternity raised more thanb $1,200 but fell short of its goal. For Wissler reaching the monetary objective was only one of their goals.

“We had two or three guys who were here still at school, who were a part of, or were there for the accident. It was, I think for them, a healing moment,” explained Wissler. “Now we are doing it in a safer way and a way to get more on-campus attention.”

You can find the NMU TKEs pushing their bright red tub pn a two-mile route, around NMU’s campus from 10 a.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday. The TKEs will be pushing for either 18 straight hours or until they reach the distance to the Soo, said Wissler. Carson Rokos is the head of fundraising for this event and is heading up the project. To help raise money, the TKEs are offering to put a business sticker and give a shoutout to any business that donates $50 to the tub push.

“Everything goes to St. Jude. It is all about the kids for us,” said Wissler.

“For any students that read The Mining Journal and see it, please come out and say hi even if you just watch us do a couple laps or I’ll even say, if you want to laugh at us for doing it its fine. We are doing it for a good cause and that is what we are all about,” said Wissler “We are trying to be better men for a better world.”