Relay for Life Under Fundraising Targets


Published: April 1, 2010

The Relay for Life team has been consistently fundraising for its event on April 17. Efforts have been strong with numerous ‘Pasta Nights’ and the new McMahon-door and Lowenstein-locker decorating contests.

However, with the recent disaster in Haiti, donation money is going towards relief rather than Relay. Peter Muller and Brian DeCicco, the co-founders and co-chairs of Relay for Life Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), as well as the co-founders and co-presidents of Colleges Against Cancer FCLC, say that the Relay is under target thus far in the fundraising process. “Ideally we’d like to be ahead. We want to reach our goal,” DeCicco said.

According to the Relay for Life FCLC Web site, the top three donating teams so far are the Relay Committee, The Observer and United Student Government, raising a combined total of almost $4,000.

Relay for Life FCLC’s overall goal for the year is $50,000. “Last month [Relay for Life] raised a bulk of money,” Muller said.

Fundraising for Haiti relief has been going on at the same time as Relay for Life. According to Marc Valentin, President of Fordham Lincoln Center’s Residence Hall Association (RHA), the RHA Haiti relief auction held on March 10 in the student lounge raised over $2,300.

According to Fordham’s Web site, as of March 12, the University has raised a total of $41,805. This does not include donations made directly to Catholic Relief Services and the Jesuit Refugee Service online.

DeCicco and Muller said they don’t think Haiti fundraisers on campus will affect their Relay for Life fundraising. They said the lack of funds is coming from personal donations, such as families and friends that students e-mail to donate. People are “more apt to donate [to Haiti] because of the urgency,” DeCicco said.

“A major difference is perception. The Haiti earthquake was a huge shock to everyone, and the need for aid seems more immediate,” Valentin said. “Students almost treat worthy causes like [they] treat school assignments: cancer is the reading that we have every week, and Haiti is the 15-page paper that is suddenly due the next day. People opt to do one and not the other, even if at the end of the day both need to get done.”

Students also doubt that donations  for Haiti will affect other fundraisers. “I’ve been donating to both [Relay for Life and Haiti]. I don’t think fundraising for Haiti is going to hurt any other fundraisers per se; people realize the importance of both causes. I think, if anything, it’ll encourage people to give more overall, not necessarily to have to decide what to donate to,” said Brian O’Connell, FCLC ’11.

“I am a Relay team captain, so I have donated to the Relay fundraiser. However, I have also donated to Haiti,” said Lauren Rushing, FCLC ’12. “I do not think that the Haiti Relief effort affects local club fundraising efforts. I think fundraising success is a result of convenience and appealing to the wants and likes of the student body.”

Conversely, other students say that the urgency of the disaster in Haiti upstages club fundraising such as Relay for Life.

“I think that Haiti was the flavor of the month, and it is taking the thunder from organizations such as Relay for Life,” said Andrew Padilla, FCLC ’11. “While most Americans have slowed or stopped their donating, clubs are just finally getting their Haiti projects off the ground as it takes time to set up fundraisers. Fordham is flooded with Haiti events and it is overshadowing [others].”

“I think Haiti resonates with more people at the moment,” said Andrew Pistone, FCLC ’11. “Relay for Life is a good cause, but when you’re constantly seeing images on TV about the devastation [in Haiti], it’s probably more of a motivating factor to give money [there].”

The Fordham Haiti relief benefit will take place on March 24 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in the 12th floor lounge of Lowenstein. There will be food, performances and auctioned prizes.  All money raised is donated to either the Catholic Relief Services or the Jesuit Refugee Services. Three weeks later, Relay for Life at Lincoln Center will occur on the outdoor Plaza from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Teams will set up outside with music, karaoke, food and drinks. All money raised goes directly to Colleges Against Cancer, which helps cancer research and care for patients and sparks cancer awareness.

DeCicco and Muller said they do not think that the Haiti Relief Benefit will have an effect on the turnout for Relay for Life.

“Last year it was the burden of the recession, and this year it’s Haiti,” DeCicco said. DeCicco and Muller said they are still “optimistic” about reaching their goal. “Everyone is working as hard as they can,” DeCicco said.