Geneseo’s 11th annual Relay for Life was on April 9 in the Ira S. Wilson Arena. Colleges Against Cancer organized and hosted the occasion, which raises money for the American Cancer Society.
Relay for Life is a 12-hour event, spanning from 6 p.m. on April 9–6 a.m. on April 10. According to the Geneseo Relay for Life website, 2,208 individual donors raised over $170,000.
Geneseo’s Relay for Life co-chair junior Scott May described how the organizational meetings generally worked.
“As a large committee, we met on a weekly basis and starting in the spring semester, we would only really talk about Relay for Life stuff,” May said. “Throughout the week, I’d also meet up with several different sub-committees, as well as some of the other people I was working with, like [junior] Bridget Beermann or [senior] Dan Martin. They’d meet up with other team leaders of these teams and we would have to recruit the speakers, sponsors and teams.”
Co-chair Beermann was the top individual fundraiser for this year’s event. Beermann explained that she supports Relay for Life so strongly not just because of the cause, but for the unique way that it unites the Geneseo community.
“Our SUNY Geneseo Relay for Life really represents our community because our event is known for its experience,” she said. “Yes, we have great fundraising, but it’s known for the experience in the Ice Rink while we’re there … Most schools, everyone leaves early and it’s usually only five to six people who are left through 6 a.m., but we usually have closer to 50-60, which is really cool.”
Beermann also explained why she thought she was the top individual fundraiser.
“Part of the reason I raised so much this year was because I shaved my head—I did the Shave for the Brave. It was something I kind of decided I wanted to do since freshman year and I’m a junior now,” she said. “Registration opened up in September/October and in November, I sent out my first email … by the end of the first week, I had about $1,500.”
The multiple organizers coordinated a number of activities that were held throughout the evening, including lip-sync battles, head shavings and a hockey shootout. In lieu of prizes, the winners had money donated to the cause in their names.
May noted that there was a significant workload for those who were instrumental in organizing the Relay.
“In the general committee meetings, we would talk about some of the bigger picture stuff, and then in individual meetings that we’d still have on a weekly basis, we’d talk about [specific plans for the event],” he said. “So, for a lot of people on the committee, it ended up being about three hours a week of different meetings ... for the executive board, it ended up being more like six hours a week because of some of the work that we were doing.”
The event’s committee set a goal to raise $175,000 this year, an amount 25 percent higher than the $140,000 that the committee set for themselves last year. The final amount of donated funds for the event totaled $173,282.51.
This is the first time in recent years that the stated goal has not been met. Donators gave $171,091.25 in 2015 for a goal of $140,000 and gave $127,899 in 2014 for a goal of $100,000.
May interpreted this result as a function of the rising expectations for the fundraising capabilities of the community.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been growing dramatically and we didn’t grow as much as we had in years past,” he said. “That’s kind of to be expected because there has to be a limit somewhere. We still grew, so we celebrate, of course.”
Overall, May emphasized his belief that this year’s Relay for Life was still a successful event.
“I think we put on an event that a lot of people enjoyed and that really accomplished the goals that we wanted to accomplish in terms of getting people to think about cancer … to remember those who have lost their battle and to fight back alongside those who are still fighting,” he said. “I was very pleased with how the event went and it was a really good time.”