Section: News

Relay For Life raises $33,000, but falls short of $58,000 goal

Relay For Life raises $33,000, but falls short of $58,000 goal

by Emily Stegner

by Jack Stubbs

Every April, Relay For Life takes over the Kenyon Athletic Center’s (KAC) indoor track for a 12-hour fundraising event to benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS). This year, Relay raised almost $33,000, falling short of the $58,000 goal Kenyon’s Relay committee had hoped for. The event raised approximately $52,000 in 2014 and $70,000 in 2013, according to Assistant Director of New Student Orientation and Community Programs Lacey Filkins, who helps run the event. Kenyon’s Relay Committee will continue accepting donations until June.

“2013 … and 2014 were banner years in terms of fundraising,” Filkins wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The problem with raising so much so quickly is that it is not sustainable, and many times the campus will feel burnt out from being pushed to fundraise so hard.”

This year, Relay took place during the day rather than all night, as was the tradition in the past. “It felt less disjointed,” Filkins wrote of this year’s scheduling. “We also had much better attendance from [non-student] community members … because the event was more accessible being during the day.”

However, some attendees felt that the event suffered from low student attendance, including from members of Greek organizations. Greeks have had significant Relay presences in recent years — seven out of Kenyon’s 12 Greek groups had fundraising tables at the event. Although former Director of Student Activities and Greek Life Christina Haas, who was heavily involved in Relay when she was at Kenyon, strongly recommended that Greek organizations take part in the event, participation was never mandatory, contrary to common belief across campus. Filkins confirmed that Greeks were not mandated to attend Relay this year.

Zeta Alpha Pi (Zetas) was one of the Greek organizations that attended Relay this year. “I don’t think attendance is necessarily required, but we [Zetas] always attend [Relay For Life],” captain of the Zetas’ Relay team Lucia Priselac ’15 said. “Two years ago, a lot of people were here and all of the tables were filled.”

Isobel Rosenberg ’15, another Zeta who attended the event, agreed that Relay seemed emptier this year. “It definitely seems like there are less people and less enthusiasm this year, which is kind of sad,” she said. “Usually more teams and organized groups all have their own table.” This year, many fundraising tables set up around the KAC track remained bare throughout the event.

Priselac, however, does not believe that making the event mandatory for other groups would necessarily be a step forward. “I would rather the event be attended by fewer people who are more committed to the event and the cause rather than having more people here who weren’t enjoying themselves,” she said.

Relay Committee Co-Chair Evie Kennedy ’17 said that Kenyon students’ perception of Relay For Life as an organization may have impacted low student attendance. “There have been a lot of rumors this year about Relay and [ACS] as a corporation; for instance, about how the CEO is paid a lot of money,” she said. “I think those critiques are valid … but ACS has the third-lowest overhead cost of any nonprofit organization in the nation.”

However, Relay Committee co-chair Hannah Laub ’16 still believes this year’s Relay went well. “I thought the event was a huge success,” Laub said. “The spirit and the feel of Relay this year was through the roof. … The people that were there were psyched to be there.”

The impact of Relay For Life is harder to understand for those who haven’t actually attended the event, said Greta Greising ’16, the Relay Committee’s public relations co-chair. “People who have participated in Relay For Life understand the importance of it, especially the Luminaria ceremony,” Greising said, referring to a ceremony that recognizes survivors and those who have lost their battles with cancer. “Those who haven’t participated in Relay don’t feel the same draw to it as people who have.”


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at