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Relay for Life Raises Nearly $100k for ACS

Approximately 1,600 participants on 156 teams persisted through cold, rainy, muddy conditions to raise $97,880.95 for the American Cancer Society.

Rainy conditions Friday meant setting up in a field of mud for participants. Rain not only soaked everything but also made for a very cold evening. Of course, the rain stopped an hour or two into Relay, having lasted just long enough to make the conditions awful.

Once things kicked off, everyone was treated to the usual pop hits and pump-up music expected at such an event. Saturday’s activities included a tug-of-war competition (for which the mud was actually ideal), the demolition of an old car and the chance to pie overall chairs in the face.

When the pieing began, the incredibly annoying DJ informed everyone they could pie an overall for a fee, which would be added to the total raised for the Cancer Society. Alternatively, you could pay to save one from being pied for the same price. Though after about the 10th time an overall was selected and then saved from this fate, my friend Sam seemed to best sum up everyone’s thoughts by turning to me and asking “If I give him $20, will he shut up and stop playing Ke$ha?”

Teams could also pay to have a decorated purple toilet placed in front of another team’s plot as a sort of playful snub. Between these fun ways to pass time and the stands of kettle corn, ice cream, Rita’s and carnival food, there was plenty to keep Relayers busy.

But on a deeper level, Penn State needs to seriously consider how it handles Relay for Life. Relay should be more fully embraced by the university. The sad truth is that it’s extremely overshadowed by another major cancer-focused philanthropy here.

It’s nothing against THON, which is clearly a shining example of the great heights that we can reach as a university when we organize and work together. The problem is that if we can pull off THON, then we should use that as the example it is to organize other great philanthropies. And part of that is more recognition from University administration.

To start, Relay should be moved to an all-weather track, like where the track team holds its meets. That way Relayers won’t have to trudge through the mud for 24 hours.

Relay for Life has been evolving at Penn State over the last few years. Anyone who has seen it more than once can atest to that. It’s definitely growing, but it could be so much more. We need to recognize that and continue to nurture it.

About the Author

Matthew D'Ippolito

I'm a senior majoring in print journalism with minors in political science and music technology. I'm from the small town of Pennsburg, about an hour north of Philly. I hope to one day work as a music reporter for Rolling Stone. I am single and looking to mingle.

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