In a year where COVID-19 has limited in-person gatherings and activities on and off campus, St. Lawrence University students haven’t let the pandemic stop them from serving others and their communities.
Nearly 120 students spent a recent afternoon and evening making a difference by raising money for cancer research, prevention, detection, education, and patient support through Relay For Life. This year’s event marked the seventh time Relay For Life has been held at St. Lawrence in recent years, but it was the first one to have participants both on campus and taking part virtually.
The COVID-19 pandemic changed much of how the event usually looks on campus, forcing organizers to plan games and activities across multiple sites on campus. Relay For Life Chair Aimee Hebert ’21 is proud of how creative everyone got in order to make it possible, as well as how many students, clubs, and organizations had a hand in its success.
“Normally, we have around six months to plan this big of an event, but because we were unsure of whether it would be possible due to COVID-19, we only had around six weeks to plan,” says Aimee. “We had many clubs and organizations on campus involved that traditionally have not been able to sign up for Relay which made it even more successful. Not only did clubs sign up as teams to participate, but an extraordinary number of groups signed up to put on events, and that really helped us out.”
Relay For Life was one of several service events that St. Lawrence students have helped safely host and organize recently, including a letter-writing campaign for local United Helpers residents, a campus blood drive, a virtual shaving event to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and an Out of Darkness Walk to raise awareness about mental health and to help prevent suicide.
“What has really impressed me about St. Lawrence students this year is that as soon as they returned to campus, many reached out and asked, ‘How can I still do service?’ and ‘How can I still help?’” says Ashlee Downing-Duke, associate director of Student Activities and Leadership and staff organizer for the event. “They were determined to find ways to serve, even during a stressful year that included a global pandemic, and that’s what we’ve done.”
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life movement is the world's largest peer-to-peer fundraising event dedicated to saving lives from cancer. For over 35 years, communities across the world have come together to honor and remember loved ones and take action for lifesaving change.
This year’s St. Lawrence Relay for Life effort has raised more than $2,200 and is accepting donations through June 1. Learn more about current community service efforts by following the SLU Serves Facebook page.