Last weekend was the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, held here at Rider. In only its third year, it has already earned the title of “Rider’s biggest event.” Part of this is due to the fact that the Rider Relay has been the Top Performing College Relay in New Jersey. According to an initial estimate from the closing ceremony, we have raised more than $50,000. Another reason we likely raised so much money is the sheer diversity of the Rider community represented there.
Alumni, Greeks, Student Government Association members, clubs, campus ministries, various residence halls, the Residence Hall Association and the Association of Commuting Students were all represented at this event. There were more than 60 teams and 1,000 participants involved in the event. All of these people had one common goal: to raise money in order to fund cancer research and ultimately end cancer.
This disease affects the lives of both commuter and resident students. The lesson here is that to work for the common good, labels need to be disregarded in order to enable teamwork.
Working together, Rider students are capable of anything. As optimistic as it sounds, it is true. If through the combined efforts of about 1,000 students about $55,000 for research can be raised, Rider’s potential seems limitless.
Rider’s Community Values Statement states that “true leadership is derived from service to others.” This was demonstrated at Relay. Every person present, from the SGA president to the numerous students who hold no official leadership position, was a leader in taking a stand against cancer.
As a participant of Rider Relay, it was refreshing to see an event that brought everyone together. Together we shared laughs during the Miss Relay drag contest and the solemn attitude of the Luminaria ceremony, the memorial to honor those who still fight that battle with cancer or have lost it. This event unites Rider as a community in a way that no other does.
If this unification can be achieved outside of Relay, Rider as a whole would be a much better place. There are signs demonstrating that this is a possibility rather than a mere dream. Both the Lawrenceville and Westminster branches of SGA have come together to create a unifying constitution for both campuses. This weekend, the two are holding a Western-style event at Westminster. Last week, Alpha Phi Omega, the Technology Club and the Japanese Pop Culture Society came together to host a video game tournament to raise funds for Autism Speaks.
While there is evidence that some larger events such as Relay for Life bring the Rider community together, more progress needs to be made. Students from all of Rider’s different groups need to come together more than just once a year. However, coming together for Relay to raise money and aid the fight against cancer is a good start.
– Jess Scanlon
Junior journalism major