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

Relay for Life is a tempting choice for volunteers

There is a flaw in the Relay for Life donation system that makes it possible for students to pocket money collected in the name of the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life is a fundraising event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. St. John’s University hosted the event April 6 and 7. To raise money for the ACS, St. John’s students created teams to collect donations. Cash, checks and online contributions were accepted.

The last two can be traced and accounted for. Cash, however, can easily be pocketed. There is no way to make sure the cash a person donated to a team will make it to the final collection pot at Relay for Life.

While some students may think the intimate nature of Relay for Life would deter theft because people ask for donations from their friends and family, just because a person does nice things does not mean they are a nice person.

Even though one is sacrificing his or her time to raise money for a cause, one might still be tempted to use that money for him or herself.

American Cancer Society Regional Vice President of Queens Tameron Ackley said, “We [American Cancer Society] have never had problems with students pocketing funds before. Many people donate with checks or contribute online.”

But there is no way of knowing who is sticking their hand in the cookie jar because cash donations can not be traced back to the donator once they are given to a team walking in the Relay for Life.

If a person went door-to-door in their dormitory asking for donations he or she could simply take that money and keep it for personal use. If the collector does not record their cash donations, it is almost as if the cash was never collected in the first place. It is based wholly on trust.

Ackley said she thinks the St. John’s students are here for the right reasons and therefore does not think there is much risk.

“It definitely seems possible for students to steal donation money,” says Erin Keaney, team captain for the St. Vincent De Paul Society, “Since it is based on the honor system there is definitely a window of opportunity, but I think the cause [Relay for Life] is greater than the temptation.”

“I don’t think they [donators] should be concerned with students pocketing funds,” stated Rebecca Beliard, future public relations chair for the Legal Society, “People have consciences. People want to help.”

Although the ACS is a reputable cause, this does not make the people who participate on the Relay for Life teams reputable individuals.

No one is above temptation. If a person knew they could steal money and go unnoticed and unpunished he or she would probably do it. At the very least, the thought would cross their mind.

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