By Lauren Lavelle
Faculty members beating students on Rider’s campus? No, it’s not a police case. But it happened when Alpha Phi Omega, Rider’s community service fraternity, hosted a students versus faculty basketball game in support of Relay for Life on March 31.
“I actually came up with the idea last minute in the first week of March,” said Rider Serves President Christina Leib, sophomore business administration major. “I knew we were cutting it close with time, but I thought it was a great idea. I asked Dean [of Students Anthony] Campbell if Rider had had this kind of fundraiser before, and he said, ‘Not for many, many years.’ I also knew I couldn’t pull it off alone, so I reached out to Alpha Phi Omega, who loved the idea too.”
The night began with some healthy competition as the faculty took the lead, remaining at least one point above the students throughout the entire first and second quarter.
Halftime gave each team a much-needed break as audience members got a chance to get in on the action with 3-point and foul shot competitions.
As the game progressed, the faculty continued to persevere, eventually reaching a victory by beating the student team by 9 points.
“I had no problem with the outcome of the game,” said senior secondary education major Steven Hopkins, a player for the student team. “The purpose of the event was to have fun with both students and faculty while raising money for Relay, and it seemed like we accomplished our goal.”
All proceeds from the event went to Relay For Life, a 12-hour, annual fight for a cure that promotes cancer research and awareness. (See story and photos, pp. 6-7.)
It is an event, Leib says, that hits close to home for her family.
“Relay as a whole is a cause that is close to my heart because my mom is a two-time cancer survivor,” said Leib. “I have been attending Relay annually for as long as I can remember, and I love that Rider has its own event that raises such a substantial amount of money for this cause.” Rider raised more than $50,000 this year.
Leib feels Rider should host more events similar to this one and hopes to start planning sooner next year to attract more players.
“Rider Serves aims to hold two Relay fundraisers a year: one in the fall and one in the spring,” said Leib. “We want to have this event again next year and start planning earlier than a few weeks before for more promotion. Some of the faculty emailed saying if they didn’t have prior commitments they would have come out, so we hope to get them early next year.”
Campbell also joined the faculty side and was more than happy to shoot some hoops for such a worthy cause.
“As a brother of Alpha Phi Omega, I was very happy to participate in the game,” said Campbell. “It was a lot of fun to play with students and it was an honor to help raise money for Relay for Life.”
While there was no set goal for fundraising, Leib is content with their earnings and remains optimistic about next year’s event.
“The game raised $180 for Relay, and next year we would like to double that,” said Leib.