Hundreds of students crowded more than three floors of the Lerner Health and Wellness Center for an overnight charity event Saturday that raised about $46,000 for the American Cancer Society.
About 750 students signed up for the 12-hour long Relay for Life, which raises money for the American Cancer Society and featured, among other events, a walking relay around a track in the building. A majority of the funds came from members of the Greek-letter community, said Program Board’s Community Service Chair Brenda Tobin, who co-directed the event with junior Callie Meserole.
“It’s a great event that I think GWU’s campus should absolutely have,” said Tobin, a junior.
From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., students in purple Relay for Life T-shirts walked around a track and participated in activities ranging from games to ceremonies to honor those who are fighting, have survived or have lost their battle with cancer.
“I did [Relay for Life] in high school,” said freshman Caroline Quat. “It’s a good cause and not hard to do. It’s a really rewarding experience.”
Quat expressed her disappointment that more students had not participated.
“We go to a school with 10,000 people,” she said. “You can give up one Saturday night of partying to be here.”
In one of the gyms, the reggae band Lucky Dub played for attendees and tables were setup for tie-dying and playing Monster Pong – a form of beer pong using Monster energy drink.
On the third floor of the building, students walked in groups of two and three on the walkway for the relay portion of the event. On the fourth floor, “camp sites” were assigned to the different teams, and the space was cluttered with backpacks, sleeping bags, bags of snacks and various board games.
Members of Program Board read poems and spoke of one day finding a cure for cancer.
“My dad had pancreatic cancer and he passed away last year,” said sophomore Bethany Thomas, who raised $2,500 with a group of friends. “It’s in honor of him.”
Thomas said she solicited donations from family and friends through e-mails and a Facebook application.
“We did it last year and had a lot of fun,” said junior Azra Hyder, who came with a group of eight friends.
Last year, the event was held in the Smith Center but was moved this year due to the construction taking place in the building.
Seven members of the newly formed Pink Ribbon group, an organization to spread awareness of breast cancer, manned a bake sale at the event.
“In total, we raised over $980 before we came in tonight and then whatever we get from this bake sale,” said sophomore Derek Sarshad, the group’s public relations officer.
“I think there’s a lot of apathy in our generation, and taking initiative and being involved is certainly a great thing,” Sarshad said. “By coming here, I’m being one of those active people.”