University recognized for excellence

St. John’s became the first New York-based school to receive the annual College of Excellence Award from the American Cancer Society after it raised more than $80,000 at last semester’s Relay for Life.

The award was presented to junior Morgan Wright, Student Government Inc.’s chair for the Relay for Life committee, at the ACS’ Eastern Regional Conference last month.

“This award just shows all the hard work and dedication and what can really be done when a community of people who want to see an end to cancer get together to join the fight,” Wright said.

Associate Dean of Student Engagement Mary Pelkowski, who serves as one of the administrators who helps to plan Relay for Life., said there was a lot of work that went in to the planning of the event.

“Relay for Life is not just a one day thing,” she said. “It is a year long commitment that hopes that one night will help to spread awareness, and raise much needed funds for research.”

Wright lauded the efforts of Pelkowski and other administrators who worked alongside the committee in planning each year’s Relay.

“We have dedicated administrators who work to guide us all year long for the event,” she said. “We do it for our loved ones. It brings us so much joy to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”

Along with raising more than $80,000, last semester’s Relay event saw 118 clubs and teams comprised of close to 1,500 students from the University. Each team raises money that goes towards cancer research and at the event walk in a circle for a total time of 12 hours, walking in solidarity with those who have died from the disease.

According to Wright, administrators and committee members have already begun the planning for next year’s Relay for Life, which is planned to take place April 19, 2013.