Tufts Relay for Life sees fundraising boost
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 08:11
Tufts Relay for Life, which offered half-priced registration for its 11th annual April event, enjoyed increased participation and fundraising during its Fall Kick-Off on Nov. 14 in Hotung Café.
As of Sunday, Tufts Relay for Life consists of 62 teams and 341 participants and has raised $8,753 so far for cancer research, according to Kathryn Galasso, senior and event co-chair of Tufts Relay for Life. At this time last year, the 49 teams and 211 participants had only raised $911, she added.
The kick-off event featured performances from student groups S-Factor, Irish Step Dance, Tufts Tamasha and senior musician Katja Torres, as well as free food for those who signed up.
“It was just a really great night,” Andrea Hurwitz, American Cancer Society (ACS) staff partner with Tufts Relay for Life, said. “We had tons of people sign up, and we haven’t actually had a kick-off that successful in the past, so we’re really looking forward to a great season coming up.”
Senior Amanda Borow, event co-chair of Tufts Relay for Life, emphasized the importance of the kick-off in garnering student support.
“Fall Kick-Off is really when we start the Relay season,” she said. “It’s really important for people to start teams early and then to build them and ... encourage their team members to fundraise.”
Whereas Tufts Relay for Life raised $93,000 total last year, event co-chair Ariana Riccio said they hope to accumulate $115,000 for the ACS by Apr. 12, the day of the event.
“We have a way to go, but things usually really pick up in the spring,” Riccio, a senior, said.
The Tufts Relay for Life Committee consists of about 80 students, the largest it has been in three years, Riccio said. This year’s freshman class helped increase excitement for Relay for Life, as many had participated in the event at their high schools, Galasso added.
“I think that was sort of the first point for us,” Galasso said. “And then just going out, we’ve had a lot more publicity — we’ve gone to hall snacks to talk to new students about Relay, we’ve been doing fundraisers in the [Mayer] Campus Center — so I think we’ve had a very public image.”
To spread their message, Tufts Relay for Life illuminated lunch bags to spell out “hope” on the hill next to Tisch Library the night before the kick-off. Members of the committee also stood near the display to inform people about the event, Borow said.
“We definitely had more success than we did last year,” she said.
In addition to the kick-off, the group worked with several fraternities to raise additional funds through Party for Life from Nov. 15 to 17. Alpha Tau Omega, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zeta Beta Tau, Sigma Epsilon and Theta Chi welcomed students who purchased individual party tickets or a wristband for all three nights.
Proceeds from both the kick-off and Party for Life, which Borow said raised around $2,000, will be directly donated to the ACS.
“It really is a great event for us and for the Greek community to come together to get the word out about Relay,” Borow said. “It’s a fantastic way to reach out to freshmen, [who are] usually the biggest pool of participants.”
Galasso said that one of the goals this year is to encourage more team fundraising events so that teams will be able to set and attain achievable goals.
“We’re also trying to get maybe a bar night or a restaurant night,” Hurwitz said. “There definitely will be more fundraising events coming up, as well as the spring Party for Life.”
There will be another kick-off in February, where even more people will sign up since it is closer to the actual event, Riccio noted.
“I want people to really embrace the event as something that they look forward to all year,” Borow said. “We’ve had phenomenal success in regard to where we stand with other colleges in the region. I’m just really excited to see where it goes, because it’s just been getting better and better here.”