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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Why we relay

Exec Board members with one of Relay’s themes: the power of hope (Photo courtesey of Jillian Rogers ’18).

Relay for Life prepares for their big event.

Hagan Arena will fill with passion, excitement and hope for the 2018 Relay for Life, a 24-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, on April 13.

The Relay for Life organization at St. Joe’s works year-round to plan and organize the event, which features various activities and opportunities to donate the cause. Jillian Rogers ’18, event chair of Relay for Life, said  extensive planning goes into every aspect of the event.

“I’ve been planning since the day after relay last year,” Rogers said. “It’s an all-year event to plan and organize things, to get sign-ups from day one and to market the event. We still have a lot to do.”

According to Rogers, the organization is made up of eight committees that handle a different responsibility. This year, Relay for Life has its highest membership ever, with either three or four executive board figures and over one hundred members in each committee. The executive board meets every Tuesday, while all of the committees meet every other Tuesday.

The executive board members said  they are grateful to have so many people to contribute this year.

“We are being innovative and thinking of new ideas,” said Laynie Schaffer ’19, team development chair. “I have a really great committee, and they offer really great ideas, so it’s been a lot of fun working with them.”

Many of the ideas come from group collaboration, including this year’s theme, which is board games. A new committee was created this year to focus on creating the theme.

Theme chair Kara Evans ’20, said the committee made a poll so  the whole organization could vote on what theme they wanted. Now, they are working on making that idea a reality.

“We’re creating decor and props basically out of budget,” Evans said. “We’re using the graphics room in campion and cardboard and stuff around that we have just to make the event space more alive and fun.”

In addition to preparing the themed decorations, the team development and marketing committees have been working to promote the event through social media, fundraising events and personalized emails to encourage participants to return.

“Our job is like being that support system for all the other committees if they’re planning an event or having some type of fundraiser,” said Katie Hoover ’18, marketing co-chair.

According to Rogers, there are over 550 people registered so far, and they expect to reach at least 1,000 in the final weeks and the day of the event. Rogers said that as a senior, it has been moving to see the progress the organization has made since her first year. In her first year, the goal was $68,000, and this year, they are striving for $88,000.

“I haven’t encountered one person who hasn’t been impacted by cancer at some point in their life unfortunately,” Rogers said. “It hits home for all of us, so come, and even if you can’t, signing up is your donation. The $15 is one ride to and from treatment for somebody who doesn’t have a ride to get there, so you’re directly benefiting somebody.”

Relay for Life supports a well-known cause, but the members also said it is an impactful event to be involved in on campus.

“Being at St. Joe’s no matter what committee or club you’re part of, [it’s] cool to see how all these people come together,” Hoover said. “You make a connection that way. Obviously it’s awesome to see the progress of the event and how it’s benefiting such a good cause, but also it’s nice to get to know so many different people.”

For students who do not have a team to join, they can still register as an individual participant. Rogers said that is a concern that discourages many people from attending, but it should not be the reason someone doesn’t go.

“Chances are even if you don’t think you know someone who’s involved in it or who’s going, you’re going to walk in the door and see 50 different people you know,” Schaffer said. “It’s a good way to meet new friends, too.”

Whether students attend as a team or [as an] individual, the Relay for Life organization hopes that everyone will experience the event at some point during their time at St. Joe’s.

“Whenever someone hears cancer they think negative, but it’s such a huge event with so much happiness and positivity that you don’t really see it on the side of cancer,” Evans said. “It’s amazing to be a part of and to feel that kind of hope and happiness with the word ‘cancer’ plastered everywhere.”

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