By Tyler Kennedy

Staff Writer

Even though UNH doesn’t host its annual Relay for Life for another 6 months, committee members and team captains are already in the full swing of organizing it. The kickoff event for the Relay for Life was held on Tuesday night in the MUB, where committee members gave a layout of how this year’s event would go.

Relay for Life is a national movement in which individuals can form teams that pledge to raise money and take part in an overnight community walk. 

The date of the relay is Saturday, April 23. Beginning at 12 p.m., the event will carry on into the next day until 6 a.m. The length of this year’s Relay differs from last year’s event, which lasted for a full 24 hours.  As for the reasoning behind the time change, committee members point to the fact that 18 hours would be a much more manageable amount of time to ask participants to spend. 

“By doing this, we believe it will make people want to stay longer for the majority of the event. …We really want people to stay longer, enjoy more, and participate,” said McKenzie Baker, who serves as one of the student event chairs for this particular relay event.

Also at the kickoff event was the announcement of the official theme to this year’s relay: 90s throwback.

As of Nov.11, 20 teams and over 70 participants have signed up for the event, raising an approximate amount of $5,300. The goal for this year’s event as a whole is listed as $95,000 and individual members and teams can set their individual goals at their own liking.

Founded on a national scale in 1985, Relay for Life has now been implemented into over 5,200 communities and 20 countries. The official website for Relay for Life notes that the movement has raised nearly five billion dollars to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Tara Dickey, an American Cancer Society staff partner, has been involved the UNH Relay for Life event since 2005 and has since seen a large amount of growth in how the event has panned out.

“When we started in 2005, we really had to do a lot of education around what Relay is… and as the years have gone on, we have found that more and more students are coming here (to UNH) looking for a relay to get involved in,” said Dickey.

The Relay for Life at UNH has now become one of the top ten events in New England, haven raised over a combined total of a million dollars through the past ten years.

As mentioned earlier, there are still six months until the official event, yet that hasn’t stopped team captains from completing recruitment measures.

Luk Bell is the captain of his team, the Sawyer Sharks, and has already seen his current team match the size of his team last year.

“We’re trying to make it a lot more successful this year, and I feel like getting an early start is going to be the best way to do that. Just getting the word out… and getting out to as many people as possible will do us good,” Bell said.

Participants are encouraged to sign up online before spring when the price of registration will be increased.