Flames of The Torch: Disrespecting Relay’s mission

This past weekend, St. John’s held their annual fundraiser Relay for Life. At the time the Torch went to print, close to $80,000 had been raised. This is a University record for the Relay event, which was started on campus seven years ago.

The atmosphere at Relay felt less like a mournful experience, and more like a party. The DJ provided endless hours of good music, the student band TEAM performed a forty-minute set that received a standing ovation and the step team got students up and dancing.

But for some, the party didn’t end with the music and entertainment provided by other University groups.

Public Safety confirmed that two students were taken out of Relay on a stretcher and taken to Queens General Hospital to be treated for alcohol intoxication.

We can’t say that this shocks us. Pregaming for University events is nothing new – and it’s not always a bad thing. The chants at Belson wouldn’t be half as funny without the liquid courage that many in the student section have when they yell at the opposing keeper. And, let’s be honest, watching a men’s basketball game this season at Madison Square Garden was painful without a drink or three at Roses in Penn Station before the game.

But beneath the fun and games, Relay for Life is a far more serious event than a sporting event – one that deserves our respect. Relay is, first and foremost, a fundraiser to battle cancer – not an excuse to get drunk.

People assume that as college students, we’re going to have a few drinks during the weekend and behave inappropriately.

Yes, being a college student means that you have the freedom to go out and party if you feel like it. But being a college student also means that there is a higher level of maturity that is expected of you.

Part of that maturity is realizing that there is a time and a place for everything. Getting trashed at Parsons Ale House with friends is one thing; having to be carried out of an event aimed at battling cancer is just childish.

Actually, childish isn’t even the word.  It’s something beyond that.  In reality, it’s blatant disrespect for authority, for your peers, and mostly, for yourself.  Actions like these display that not everybody is ready for the real world and probably shouldn’t set foot on a college campus until they learn.

We can rant and rave about how bad these actions can make a person or even the school look.  What we also have to look at is how we can look at this and modify our behavior; how we can learn respect and maintain our dignity.

Directly or indirectly, cancer affects everyone. Odds are that someone you know has cancer, or worse, has died from cancer, and if not, someone you know knows someone who has.  Even in the slight chance that you don’t, anybody in their right mind knows how serious the implications and effects of cancer are. It doesn’t take that much; you don’t have to go to college to know these things.  You also don’t have to go to college to learn how to not be an idiot.  What you do go to college for is to foster knowledge and encourage yourself and others to be better.  Clearly, these two didn’t get the memo.

As for the rest of us, the message is clear – don’t show up to Relay for Life trashed.  It makes you and everyone else look terrible. We’re in college – let’s act our age.