The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Walking for a cause

Over 400 students, faculty, and local cancer survivors assembled Friday night on the Great Lawn of St. John’s Queens campus to participate in the first annual Relay for Life.

The event, which is carried out across the country, was hosted by Zeta Phi Beta and sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, as well as several local merchants.

Participants formed teams and fundraised for the event, asking for general donations as well as selling luminarias in memory of cancer patients. Several teams hosted fundraiser events to bring in even more money. A final total of over $28,000 was raised, with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.

“The idea is that cancer doesn’t sleep, so for one night, neither will we,” explained Heather Reagan, who coordinated the event for the American Cancer Society.

The teams gathered at 5 p.m. and began to set up tents and miniature campsites on the Great Lawn. After getting set up, all members and teams took an opening lap together, carrying signs and banners made by each group, while the St. John’s Pep Band played. The school dance team was also on hand to help kick off the event.

“It was great to see such a good turnout for such an important cause,” said Conor Nugent, a sophomore, after his performance with the Pep Band. “It was great to be a part of an event this important.”

As the opening lap closed, one member of each team continued walking on the path for the remainder of the event, while entertainment was provided for others including a performance from the Hispanic Cultural Society’s “Lady Bulldogs” step team, midnight games, movies on a giant inflatable screen, and guest DJs from Q104.3 radio station.

Food and drinks were also donated and distributed, including a carload of pizza from Domino’s, which was delivered at midnight for a free pizza party, much to the joy of the hungry participants.

“Lots of groups came up with their own ways to make everyone have fun,” said Richard Azunre, a freshman and member of the African Students’ Association.

Throughout the event, participants who were not walking took advantage of the opportunity to mingle. Volleyball nets were raised and footballs, softballs, and soccer balls were put to use as the night carried on. Students roamed between the campsites, meeting new people, playing games, and enjoying the occasion.

As the sun set and the laps continued to be counted, the energy of the night remained high. At 9 p.m., the luminaries were lit along the front stage. The small, lighted memorials served as a reminder through the night of the true purpose of the event.

Festivities continued throughout the night until the morning came, with walkers braving the cold and a little bit of rain. Many could be seen wrapped in sweaters and even blankets as they continued in the relay.

The event ended at 8 a.m. with closing ceremonies and cleaning up of the Great Lawn.

“All in all, I think it was a successful time,” Azunre said, “and if it were to be repeated next year, I would bet on an even bigger participation.”

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