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Lasell Stands (Virtually) Together

April 21, 2020

Lasell University's Relay for Life and White Ribbon Campaign kicked off this week with the goal of uniting the community virtually in lieu of in-person events.

Lasell University American Cancer Society LogoRelay for Life is run by Lasell's American Cancer Society (ACS) campus branch. Lasell ACS President Corey Zemke '20 felt strongly about celebrating cancer survivors and continuing the group's philanthropic outreach.

"We wanted to still engage the community on an issue that might go unnoticed during a time like this," she said.

Relay for Life is broken into three separate themed days: Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back. Throughout the week, the group will run games, award prizes, share speeches, and more on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Switching from an in-person event to a virtual one, no less one that takes place over the course of three days, has "been a journey," said Zemke, but she notes that "All the parts of Relay that we love will still be happening, just in a different way."

So far, ACS has raised $12,000 toward their Relay for Life fundraising goal. They hope to continue the momentum during the event itself.

Lasell's White Ribbon Campaign has also taken on new life in virtual format. Their goal is equally critical: they aim to raise awareness of sexual and domestic violence, connect the community and highlight its activism, and support survivors.

"We are hoping to create some social connection during this time of physical distancing, especially as we worry about survivors being further entrenched in the abusive cycle that intensifies with this kind of extreme isolation," said Assistant Professor Karin Raye, a violence prevention and education specialist and faculty leader of Lasell Stands Up. 

Lasell University's White Ribbon Campaign Virtual BannerRaye and student organizers typically create a campaign banner for students to sign as a mark of their pledge to never "commit, condone, or remain silent about violence against women and girls." This year, they have created a virtual banner that community members can sign (pictured left), as well as an extended week of events focused on connection and support. Similar to Relay for Life, they have taken to social media platforms as a way to promote engagement from afar.

"Transitioning this in-person campaign to a virtual one has taken some creativity and innovation," said Raye. "My students and Title IX interns have been stellar in terms of thinking outside the box to bring folks together."

Added Zemke, "We are excited to see the outcome of this and to celebrate the way our community comes together virtually."

Relay for Life will take place on April 22, 23, and 24 from 12-3 p.m. EST on their Facebook and Instagram pages. The White Ribbon Campaign runs from April 20 - 24 with activities on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.