The earliest numbers are in — student organizers of Rider’s Relay For Life estimate that this past weekend’s event raised $50,000 for the American Cancer Society. That number is expected to change by the end of the week. More than 800 participants from the University and local community participated in the second annual Relay For Life, which was held from Saturday, March 27, and Sunday, March 28, on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus.
During the community celebration, team members took turns walking and running around the track inside the Student Recreation Center to raise funds to support cancer research, education, advocacy, and patient and family services. Entertainment included live bands, a disc jockey, and a relay pageant. Hundreds of glow sticks were placed in bags around the track in a moving ceremony to honor cancer survivors as well as friends and family members lost to the disease.
This year’s theme was “Hollywood.” Organizers awarded mock Oscars to the teams who raise the most support. There was also a Red Carpet and a Walk of Fame with purple stars for names of survivors and cranberry stars for names of University community members, such as University President Dr. Mordechai Rozanski and Dean of Students Tony Campbell.
Last year, SGA Team Leader Heather Fischler, a senior Elementary Education and Psychology dual major, came up with the idea to hold Rider’s Relay in order to create a new University tradition. In fact, organizers hoped that the event would attract the same enthusiasm and support seen during Midnight MAACness, which celebrates the start of the Rider basketball seasons. They not only generated that passion, but more than 550 community members participated, raising more than $55,000 — doubling their initial goal of $25,000. It was also the first full Relay organized by Christine Sagge ’06, ACS director of Special Events.
In November, Rider’s Relay For Life was recognized as the “Top Performing College Event in All of New Jersey” by the American Cancer Society at the at the Eastern Division Relay For Life Leadership Conference. The Eastern Division, based in Lawrenceville, includes colleges and universities from all of New Jersey and New York, including New York University and Ithaca University. For more information about Rider University’s Relay For Life, please visit www.relayforlife.org/rideruniversity.