Try to think about life right now as a college student. You’ve got classes, social obligations and of course your “you time”. Life gets hectic. Now try to picture yourself as our latest student chosen to be our campus spotlight. Her name is Kelsey Perkins. She’s a senior psychology major at Pitt who still manages to do all of this while working as the Team Recruitment and Development leader for the Relay for Life at the University of Pittsburgh.
In this leadership position, Kelsey recruits and stays in contact with all teams and participants for the event. And she’s doing a pretty good job; this year there are over 900 people on more than 90 different teams! Imagine trying to coordinate that on top of classes! (Oh and did we mention she also cooks, bakes AND comes up with her own yoga routines to work out to?!)
Perkins began relaying for her own father, who passed away from colon cancer after a four year battle. She continued her efforts at college by joining the Colleges Against Cancer chapter here at Pitt.
“I really wanted to be able to step up a little bit in college and take leadership. My motivating force was truly my family,” she said. “In my position, I encourage and reward teams who are fundraising. I also reach out to people who haven’t reached their full potential.”
Perkins works closely with her two co-chairs, Leah Silinski and Annie Gula, in sending emails to other student organizations, reaching out to past participants and creating awareness all year for the Relay for Life. This year, however, recent events have posed unique problems for the Relay planners. The seemingly never-ending bomb threats Pitt has experienced have taken their toll on the event.
“It’s been stressful but in the last few days we’ve made huge progress,” explained Perkins.
To avoid any possibility of an evacuation during Relay, measures have been taken to adapt. The entire schedule was revised and condensed. The event will begin Friday, April 13th at 5pm and now last until midnight. All activities have been moved to the lower lawn of the Cathedral (the corner of Forbes & Bellefield by the log cabin) so that even if an evacuation does occur, it will remain safe to stay. There will even be a Pitt police officer on the scene for the duration of the event. “We just want to make everyone still gets the same out of this event and feels safe,” Perkins said.
Kelsey is also involved with the PantherWell Program as a peer health educator. The group works through student health services to create awareness for students about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while in college, especially while living in the dorms. A few popular events she has helped to put on include the Sex in the Lounge presentation, More than just EasyMac on methods of dorm cooking, and a Happy Hour event with nonalcoholic beverages in dorms.
“Remaining healthy in college is a challenge for a lot of students,” said Perkins. “It’s always fun to show people things like how to make cracker pizzas or cook good things in a microwave.”
After graduation, Perkins is planning on going to graduate school for public health and specializing in health behavior and promotion. She hopes to work on the community level and is especially interested in reproductive health such as HIV and AIDS.
“I’m still exploring it. It’s such a growing field, but I think that working with people is my thing,” she said.
Kelsey Perkins: One Collegiette Behind Pitt's Relay for Life
Posted Apr 13 2012 - 9:26am
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