Event-planning project raises money for Relay

By Lauren Minore 

Students took on the top talents of the Rider Intramural Dodgeball Team during “Beat the Pros,” a tournament held on April 10 in the Student Recreation Center Courts. 

The four students behind the idea were junior management and leadership major Gabby Orszulak, senior marketing major Justine Collier, senior public relations major Brittney McEachern and senior communication studies major Kara Winkler. 

For their semester-long project in Associate Journalism Professor Aaron Moore’s COM 280 course called Issues in Event Planning, the students were assigned to create and host an event. 

Orszulak and Collier worked together extensively in the past, serving as co-chairs on the Relay for Life committee. The two were responsible for overseeing smaller committees that helped plan the entire Relay for Life event on March 30. 

“Our Relay for Life committee planned on hosting a dodgeball tournament last spring, but time just got away and, before we knew it, the year was over,” Collier said. “Since Gabby [Orszulak] and I had this class together, we had extra time to specifically dedicate to making sure this event could happen.” 

Once the two were paired in the same group for their class, they decided co-sponsoring an event for  Rider’s Relay for Life would not only be beneficial for their project, but the cause, as well. Proceeds from “Beat the Pros” went directly to the American Cancer Society through Rider’s fundraising efforts. 

To participate in the event, players had to pay one dollar and form teams of five. The winning players won a variety of prizes and two boxes of pizza. 

“We wanted to put some type of twist on this event to make it different, so that’s why we invited Rider’s intramural team to act as the pros,” Collier said. “But otherwise, this event felt much simpler than [the one at] our actual Relay.”

The “pros” in this competition were the winners of the Intramural Dodgeball tournament this past fall, according to Orszulak. 

Collier said that planning “Beat the Pros,” while also preparing for Relay, proved to be challenging, but also, rewarding. 

“For this event, there were only four of us handling planning, compared to a whole committee for [Relay] so, going in, I was a bit worried about managing it all,” she said. “But our team works so well together that it ended up being easy to make sure that all bases were covered.” 

After the group’s planning efforts, the turnout of the event was not as successful as they hoped. As a result, the group rearranged the single five-person team into four smaller teams to accommodate the amount of players that signed up. 

Orszulak and Collier attributed the timing of the event to the lack of student participation. 

“My biggest takeaway from this experience is that, unfortunately, it is hard to gain student interest in Relay for Life fundraisers, especially after our main event has occurred,” Collier said. “If we were to make this dodgeball tournament an annual thing, I definitely think having it in February before Relay for Life might result in a better turnout.” 

However, both Orszulak and Collier agreed that, although the outcome of the experience was not what they expected, they learned valuable lessons which will help them in their event-planning endeavors going forward. 

“It was a very awesome experience to be able to [plan ‘Beat the Pros,’]” Orszulak said. “I think it’s a really good learning experience because unless you keep doing stuff like that, you’re not going to get better at it, I’m kind of glad it didn’t go as well as we hoped because now we have something else to strive for.” 

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