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Students 'jailed' in effort to raise money for Relay for Life

A handful of students were selected to be put into a wooden “jail cell” and beg passersby for money so they could be freed from the enclosure as part of the Relay for Life Committee’s fundraising event at the Murkland Hall courtyard on Tuesday, March 28.

From 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. just outside of the Dimond Library, the students were placed into the jail cell for one hour or until they raised $100. Begging people who walked by for donations was their only hope. Luckily they accepted credit cards as well as cash.

This is the first time that the UNH Relay for Life Committee has held an event of this kind.

The money raised by the students in the jail cell went to the American Cancer Society though the jailing itself was also to raise awareness about the campus-wide Relay for Life event next month.

McKenzie Baker, a senior communication sciences and disorders major and the event chair for the UNH Relay for Life Committee, said that 12 students had signed up to be jailed in hopes of raising $1,200. According to Baker, by the end of the event on Tuesday, more than $500 had been raised. “Not as much as we were hoping for but we are pleased,” she said.

Baker noted that two other Relay for Life events were put on this week, a boot drive and a raffle, and more than $2,000 was raised.

“We’re definitely trying to promote our event,” Baker added. “We’re just trying to get people to remember walking by that they should still be fundraising for the event. Most of the money raised comes from people fundraising prior to the event…”

Senior occupational therapy major Samuel Lewis was one of many students in the jail cell asking for donations. Lewis said that he had been in the jail cell since noon and said that, as of 12:45 p.m., the event had already made between $300 and $400.

American Cancer Society employee and primary contact for the event next month at the Whittemore Center, Tara Dickey, said that they had picked the location outside the library due to the amount of foot traffic there. Dickey also said she hoped that the lunchtime rush would bring more attention.

“We’re hoping to raise $1,000 [to] $3,000,” Dickey said. “We will also be bringing this jail cell to the event to continue raising money.”

Ken Gray, a volunteer for the Rochester, New Hampshire Relay for Life, built the jail cell for this event on Tuesday.

“It took me about two and a half days to make it,” Gray said. “I think this is a great way to get people to donate.”

According to the American Cancer Society’s website, “Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser cancer walk for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries who give…their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer.”

The main Relay for Life event will be at the Whittemore Center on Saturday,  April 22. Over $38,000 of the $110,000 goal has already been raised. Many student organizations, from fraternity and sorority life to clubs and individuals, will walk around the track to support the campaign.

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