Melissa Thomas: 2016 Relay for Life Recruitment Chair

Name: Melissa Thomas

Year: Graduating Third Year

Age: 20 

Hometown: Tallahassee

Majors: International Affairs and Political Science

Minor: Environmental Studies

Photo By: Lauren Alsina

Her Campus (HC): To start with, what are you involved with on campus?

Melissa Thomas (MT): Currently, I am involved with a national co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, and Relay For Life of FSU, but I also used to work with University Housing and Sustainable Campus.

HC: How did you get involved with Relay For Life?

MT: I was invited to attend my first Relay For Life event when I was 8 years old. At that time, my mother was a survivor. Four years later she lost her battle to breast cancer, and I have been passionate about the cause ever since. Last year was the first time I really got involved in an event, and I was a team captain for an organization I was a part of. This was also the first time I stayed the night for the entire event, and it was such an incredible experience that I decided to apply for FSU’s Executive Committee to get a more hands-on experience in planning the event, and I was offered and accepted the position of Recruitment Chair for the 2016 event.

HC: How has being Recruitment Chair faired for you so far?

MT: I love it. Being a part of Relay For Life has been the most fun and rewarding experience I have had here at FSU. As Recruitment Chair I reach out to RSOs who did not participate in our event last year and work with them to register a team and start fundraising. It’s exciting to see a team excel and know that you played a part in getting them there.

HC: How many organizations have you gotten to join in on Relay For Life so far?

MT: Thanks to the help of everyone on our leadership, we’re at about 50 new teams this year.

HC: What are you looking forward to the most with this year's Relay?

MT: My favorite part of any Relay is the luminaria ceremony, because it reminds us why we’re all there. Two speakers share their experience with cancer, usually as a survivor or a caregiver, and the luminaria bags placed around the track are lit. As participants walk the track, they read the names on the bags to remember those we have lost and honor those who are still fighting. It’s a very moving ceremony, and it reminds everyone there that they aren't alone, that cancer has touched so many lives.

HC: Do you plan on participating in Relay For Life in the future?

MT: Definitely. I’ll actually be at FSU one more year so I’ll be able to be involved next year. Even after I leave FSU, though, I’ll at least always be a participant, and I hope I’ll join the planning committee for another event once I’ve settled down.

HC: Is there anything else you would like to add?

MT: The only other thing I’d like to include is that FSU’s Relay For Life is April 15 at 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. on the 16th and everyone should come out!