The University of Georgia has hundreds of clubs available for any student’s interests and one of its largest clubs is Relay for Life, an organization which benefits the American Cancer Society through fundraisers and several events. This national organization also assists with funding cancer research and helping families and patients, through activities including driving patients to treatments and distributing food.
As reported in The Red & Black, in a large club like this students can feel lost and like their efforts are not going anywhere. That is why this year the Relay for Life’s executive team decided to restructure its club to allow students to have a real purpose in the club.
The club is working to show students that aside from raising money, it builds a family and bands together to help others and helps to form personal connections with those they help.
“We really want to create that community environment, because obviously we do fundraise, but we’re also here to build a community around cancer and people who have struggled with it,” executive director Tess Barrett, a senior advertising major from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, said.
Barrett said she got involved with Relay in high school and continued to participate at UGA because she wanted to find an organization where she would meet people and do something important. Barrett wants to help other students find this same purpose here.
In previous years, Relay had numerous committees and subcommittees under directors, however, those involved believed that some roles were not necessary which lead students to feel like they weren’t doing anything in the club.
Now they will have eight committees, four of which will be family committees and the other four being sub-family committees.
The family committees will have a little more than 20 people and there is a development, marketing, fundraising and production family committee. The sub-family committees, which are smaller, will be more focused. For example, there will be a freshman development sub-family committee designated for specifically helping freshmen.
Relay’s biggest goal this year is to be more intentional. The directors want their members to feel like they have a special role in the club outside of helping to raise money.
“We had a lot of events last year,” development director Gracelyn Thrash, a junior human development and family sciences major from Marietta, Georgia, said. “We’ll repeat our popular ones, like the 5K and the downtown pub crawl, but we want to be intentional with other events so that we can raise the most amount of money possible, but also so that people enjoy them.”
Barrett and Thrash both said they want to foster a real family sense. While they know Relay must raise money to fight cancer, they also want to push their connection and community more than anything.
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