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In many ways, I am a typical college student: I work, I study and I party. Friday nights in a college town usually involve drunken debauchery and a lot of lecherous behavior.
And sometimes mine do, too. But other nights, like last Friday night, do not.
Instead of spending my Friday night pumped full of alcohol, I went to the CU Rec Center along with a couple hundred other dedicated students who trekked out through the snow and slush to support cancer research and awareness.
Many college nights end at 7 a.m. and involve a massive headache the next day and the advice to drink a lot of water. My night ended at 7 a.m. with cheers and thundering applause for the $20,540 raised for the American Cancer Society.
The night was spent in the gymnasium, with different teams camped out on the floor, each representing a different country or sport. The theme for the night being “one world, one cure,” – relay Olympic style! Each team came with costumes and props to represent their chosen theme – for my particular team, Alpha Phi Omega (don’t let the frat/sorority sounding name fool you – we’re basically a volunteer-oriented student group), we chose to represent the great sport of curling! So we toted out through the snow along with some brooms, with balloons as our rocks to push along the “ice.”
Teams spread out on the floor in different places. Along with having props and possibly costumes, most teams also brought along goodies to keep them going strong throughout the night without sleep because, “cancer doesn’t sleep.” Groups brought snacks, board games, fold-up chairs, blow-up mattresses, pillows, blankets and some even brought tents!
Throughout the night there were also many games and activities to help keep teams going strong – there was fake sumo wrestling, energy pong, a scavenger hunt, tug-of-war competitions, a soccer tournament, a movie and a Mr. Relay competition among others. They also provide tons of snacks: soda, Cliff Bars, chips and salsa, pretzels, licorice and candy, pizza and a breakfast in the morning.
Throughout the night, each team is supposed to have at least one team member on the track all night. They don’t really monitor whether or not you have a team member on the track, teams are held accountable only by their own integrity. There is also a luminaria ceremony held, where people participate in a moment of silence for loved ones lost to the disease.
The goal of the night and all its festivities was to raise money for cancer research. Each person who attended the night paid a registration fee and hopefully fundraised on their own as well.
The end result? Some very tired, but also reward-filled college students who raised more than $20,000 for the American Cancer Society.
That is the kind of Friday night that I enjoy the most. It’s more rewarding than any drunken shenanigans and it’s something that I’ll remember and appreciate for the rest of my life. Relay for Life may only be offered one night a year on campus, but there are so many other volunteer opportunities available right here in Boulder every night of the week.
Maybe it’s time to consider spending your Friday night with something that means a little bit more.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Ellie Bean at Eleanore.Bean@colorado.edu.