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Relay For Life of Northeastern University
Marc Thomas is a 4th year Electrical Engineering major from Mansfield, MA. He is the event logistics co-chair for the Relay For Life of Northeastern, and has been involved in the planning of Relay of NU for three years. Marc also works with the Relay For Life of Mansfield, MA. He is a big supporter of Relay, and hopes you will be too.
Relay for Life
Each year, for 12 hours on a cold night in March, Matthews Arena fills with thousands of students. But this is no hockey game, basketball game, nor concert; it’s something totally unique. In an outpouring of support for a worthy cause, they stay awake through the night participating in Relay For Life.
Relay For Life is an overnight fundraising event that raises awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. By hosting Relay For Life, communities band together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who have passed, and fight back against the disease which has taken too much. There are activities, games, performances, and meaningful ceremonies for that happen through out the night. Many different student groups participate in Relay, and a number of them perform as well. Relay is truly an exciting and moving event.
I became involved in Relay at an early age, as a participant on a team supporting my mother’s good friend who was fighting cancer. We would walk in the Relay each year, though I didn’t fully understand the purpose at the time. I would marvel at the big sound system they had, and all the people who were staying up all night long. Years later, Relay began in my hometown and I became involved, this time helping to create their big sound system. Then in my freshman year at Northeastern, I participated in Relay and was amazed by the event that the committee put on. I signed up for more information about how to be involved, and the next year I found myself as the ceremonies chair for Relay of NU. After holding that position for two years, I was selected to be one of the three event co-chairs, leading the logistics team.
Northeastern University has held only five Relays thus far, beginning in 2010, and in that short span of time, our event has made regional and national history. The 2014 Relay For Life event raised almost $250,000 and involved over 2,700 participants, including students, faculty, and staff. For the second year in a row, our event raised the most money of all the collegiate Relays in New England! Additionally, Relay of Northeastern ranked third in the nation for fundraising out of all collegiate events in the United States!
A huge event and accomplishment like this takes quite a bit of engineering and planning to pull off. There is a committee of about 30 selected students who work tirelessly to organize every aspect of the event. We start off in September, with weekly meetings to figure out event basics, such as goals and the theme. From there we move to brainstorming about activities and ideas for the night. We break down into logistics, fundraising, and publicity sub-committees, with each committee member having their own set of responsibilities. As we work to plan Relay, we also put on a number of smaller events through out the year as well. There is a Zumbathon, Paint The Campus Purple, as well as numerous restaurant fundraisers and tablings. While Relay For Life is only one night, there are plenty of ways to stay involved through out the year. The committee invites all students, faculty, and staff to participate in Relay! To sign up, or for more information, please see the link below.