Chloe Miller ’14, News Editor
This past Friday, April 26, Trinity College hosted its own Relay for Life Event from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Relay for Life is a movement organized by the American Cancer Society, a nationwide health organization dedicated to ending cancer. Relay for Life is the main volunteer-driven fundraising event that the American Cancer Society hosts. Participants participate in a walk and other fun fundraising activities in order to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients.
Trinity organizes Relay for Life through a committee of about 20 students. Geoff Kwok ’14 and Aarthi Ram ’14 are co-chairs of the event. Most of the committee work leading up to Relay involves spreading the word about the event. Committee members receive flyers, paint, chalk, and other materials to “paint the campus purple” in the weeks and days leading up to the event. Trinity students are often unaware of all the activities and events that go on on campus, so the Relay committee stresses advertising most. They also host fundraising events throughout the year. A member of Relay for Life foundation, Natalie Cullen, also attends committee meetings and directs students on what to do.
Trinity’s Relay event took place in the Koeppel Community Sports Center and began promptly at 6 p.m. Committee members began setting up the stage, registration tables, track, and other activity tables at 8 a.m. The ice rink area was full of participants either walking around the edge of the rink or taking part in activities. The event attracted 65 different teams, with a grand total of 464 registered participants. Many other students who hadn’t registered filtered in throughout the night. This year’s Relay had fewer participants than previous years, most likely due to the host of other events that were taking place the same night. Different fundraising teams, such as Kappa Kappa Gamma or AD, hosted booths or tables with free activities. There was an inflatable bounce area, a table to decorate cakes, a photo booth, and free snow cones and cotton candy.
Participants in Relay for Life pay a $15 registration fee and are asked to join a specific fundraising team. The money each participant raises then goes toward the team they are a part of. The teams that raised the most money for Trinity’s Relay for Life are St. Anthony Hall with $5,665, Pi Kappa Alpha with $3,050, and Trinity College Women’s Rugby with $2,665. The individuals who raised the most money were Annie Collier ’14 with $2,200, Tasmerisk Haught ’15 with $805, and Sarah Wolcott ’15 with $710. Overall, Trinity has raised $31,000 for this year’s Relay. $7,000 of that was raised during the day of the event. Donations are collected on a rolling basis and will continue to be collected until August.
One of the most popular and moving events of Relay is the Luminary ceremony. All of the participants and survivors gather around and all the lights in the building were turned off. A committee member read a poem she wrote, which used different names such as “father,” “mother,” “grandfather,” etc. She asked participants to crack their glowstick when they heard the name of someone who they personally know who has been affected by cancer. By the end of the poem, all the glowsticks had been cracked and everyone walked a few laps in silence, lead by the cancer survivors. Paper bags lined the track and everyone placed their glowstick in a bag, creating a luminous atmosphere for the moving memorial. Bags in the bleachers also spelled out “HOPE” in glowsticks.
Another popular event at Trinity’s Relay for Life is the Date Auction. The Date Auction took place at 8 p.m. and attracted a large audience. Individuals volunteered or were nominated to be potential “dates.” Each date took their turn standing on a stage while the audience placed bids on them. The winning bidder “won” that person as their date for one day or evening. Most of the people auctioned off were bought by their friends, sports team, or fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. The average price for each person was around $35, although Cody Patrina ’15 went for $120. All of the money raised from this Auction went straight to Relay for Life’s overall donations.
Each a capella group had a presence at Relay for Life, and all five groups performed in a concert at ten p.m., beginning with the Dischords, followed by the Accidentals, the Pipes, and then the Quirks and Trinitones. Their concert was wonderful and was followed by an equally musically talented lip-sync contest. There is a $500 prize for the winner of the lip sync contest, which was split two ways this year. Carl Bareto ’14 lip-synced his parents’ wedding song. This was a sentimental performance because Bareto’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Bareto’s friends and fraternity brothers came out to support his performance and the entire audience was very moved. Bareto also pledged to donate back half of his prize money to the Relay fund. The Moveable Joints shared top honors with Bareto for the lip sync contest.
While Relay is technically held until 6 a.m., activities wrapped up around midnight. Aysen Muderrigsolu ’15, a committee member, explained that in order to keep the momentum of the relay going, it is better to end the event earlier. When people do end up staying all night, the spirit and positive attitude about the event tends to diminish a bit. With all the activities and food and actually relaying, everyone was pretty worn our by midnight. It was a highly successful evening and committee members were pleased with the totals raised. They will continue to fundraise and spread word about the event, and Relay 2014 should be another unforgettable event.