On Friday, April 24, RPI’s Relay for Life was held in the Armory. Relay for Life, run by the American Cancer Society, is an annual event that raises money towards the fight against cancer by having participants walk, either individually or in teams, for twelve to 24 hours.
Sadly, this year’s Relay was disappointing. From an incredibly low turn-out to general disorganization throughout the event, the Polytechnic staff was dissatisfied with what could have been a spectacular event. Many of the events of the night, especially those conducted by Relay For Life, seemed to be more focused on the theme of the event, Disney, rather than the purpose which Relay for Life stands for. For example, the trivia game included questions about Disney characters and very few questions about cancer or preventative measures which is information that could benefit students.
No reporters or media organizations from The Polytechnic or RPI TV were permitted to enter without paying the entry fee, and therefore, no article could be written about the event. This is contrary to previous Relays for Life held at RPI, which The Polytechnic has covered over the years and even included a spread.
The 2017 and 2018 Class Councils also donated $2,000 towards providing food for attendees to the event. However, volunteers who came to the event for the sole purpose of distributing the food were expected to pay the $20 entry fee and register as an attendee. The issue was solved with the workaround of entering through a back door, but multiple volunteers had already paid the entry fee.
Finally, we are concerned with the American Cancer Society’s discretion with the division of raised funds. Because a significant amount of money is spent on advertising, merchandise, and other costs unrelated to research, survivor assistance, etc., not as much money actually goes to the fight against cancer than could be spent. According to Combined Financial Statements released by said organization in recent years, the American Cancer Society has only spent approximately 60 percent of the money raised towards actual cancer research, prevention, detection, treatment, and patient support. Other related charities spend upwards of at least 80 percent of their revenue on the above services. Perhaps other, more direct donation options would be more beneficial to the ultimate cause: eliminating cancer.
We look forward to seeing next year’s event, in hopes that organization and procedures will be improved.