More than 1,300 students will gather at Francis Field this weekend for Relay for Life, a 12-hour benefit for the American Cancer Society. Washington University in St. Louis’ event ranks among the nation’s biggest, and this year, organizers hope to raise $200,000.
Student volunteer Rachel Westrate can only speculate why Relay is so popular. One possibility is because many School of Medicine students and faculty are striving to find a cure for cancer. Another is that WUSTL students embrace the campus’ culture of giving.
But there is a third, not insignificant, factor: Relay is a blast.
“The motto is, ‘Celebrate, remember and fight back.’ We really try to do all of those things,” said Westrate, a sophomore studying environmental policy and English, in Arts & Sciences. “Walking around the track and seeing the luminaria reminds us of the lives impacted by cancer. But we also want to make it a fun opportunity for the community to come together. There is so much going on — the dancing, the music, the food.”
Performers include the Pikers, WUSauce, K.A.R.L. Improv and WU Chaahat. Participants also are invited to join the three-legged race, hula hoop contest and tug-of-war battle.
Here, Relay for Life organizers offer five of their favorite activities:
- Silent Rave
At midnight, participants wear headphones and dance like crazy to the same tracks.
- Churros from the Rodriguez Scholars
Throughout the evening, Rodriguez Scholars sell warm Mexican donuts to benefit the American Cancer Society.
- Decorated luminaria
A highlight for many participants is finding their decorated luminaria among the approximately 450 lanterns lining the track.
- Themed laps (especially Disney!)
6:50 p.m., participants circle the track sporting their cutest tutu, princess crown or Mickey Mouse ears
At 3 a.m., revelers channel their inner rock star.
To register and to view a complete schedule of events, visit relay.wustl.edu.