Emily Porter is the Executive Director for Relay For Life (RFL) at Florida State University. This is her 11th Relay For Life and her fourth Relay For Life at FSU. She is a senior majoring in Political Science. She is also a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, an honors student and a member of the Surge Student Government Association (SGA) party. I met up with her at the Relay For Life Kick-Off Bash to pick her brain on fighting cancer and leading an organization on campus!
Her Campus (HC): Can you tell us about RFL and its affiliation with the American Cancer Society (ACS)?
Emily Porter (EP): Specifically at FSU, we host events throughout the year, including small events like tabling and more significant events like our annual ‘Giving Tuesday’ fundraiser or even 5k runs— anything we can think of to raise money. Everything we raise goes to the ACS for cancer research, prevention efforts and patient programs. Some of the programs include rides to treatments and lodging.
HC: What inspired you to join RFL?
EP: Luckily, I haven’t had anyone in my family directly affected by cancer, which I know is rare, and I am so lucky and thankful. However, I have seen many of my friends affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly. I joined Relay For Life in sixth grade through my middle school. Seeing the impact on the survivors we helped, I knew I wanted to keep helping people in a broader setting. I know that FSU Relay touches thousands of lives, so I wanted to keep making an impact.
HC: Can you describe your journey with RFL and what led to you becoming the Executive Director?
EP: I saw them tabling at the involvement fair during my freshman year. I talked to the executive members at the table, and they suggested I apply for exec since I already had 7 years of experience with RFL. I ended up being the In Kind Sponsorship Chair and was the only freshman on exec in 2019. In my sophomore year, I was on exec again and was the Operations Chair. In my junior year, my director, Shauna Ghorbani, encouraged me to run for the board of directors, and I became the Events Director that year. It made me think that they saw something in me that I hadn’t seen yet. I am the Executive Director this year after being mentored by last year’s Executive Director, Alex Liss!
HC: What goes into organizing an event as significant as Relay For Life?
EP: Logistically, with FSU, you have to communicate with on-campus event services such as FSU Police Department and Campus Rec. We also had over 60 teams last year, so we had to get them the information they needed and ensure they were selling things at their tables and booths. We also have outside vendors and speakers to coordinate. There are a lot of moving pieces when putting on an event of this size. It takes months to put it all together.
HC: How has RFL impacted your life?
EP: As cheesy as it sounds, it has absolutely changed my life. I don’t think I would be a fraction of the leader I am today without RFL. It has made me so much more confident in myself. At the end of last year’s event, I knew I was capable of so much more than ever before.
HC: What is your favorite part of RFL?
EP: My favorite part is definitely the people. I devote so many hours of my week to this organization, and it’s refreshing to see that other people also care. It warms my heart to see people similarly passionate about Relay For Life and the American Cancer society.
HC: What advice would you give to someone wanting to get involved with Relay For Life at FSU?
EP: Get involved in every way possible. You can apply for Relay Tribe, the Executive Committee, join the all-participants team, Noles for a Cure, or join through a Recognized Student Organization (RSO). You can also find us at Market Wednesday or follow us on Instagram @fsurelayforlife to get more information.
If you want to join Relay For Life at FSU or donate, click this link and follow the respective prompts. RLF’s main event is on Saturday, April 1, 2023, at noon at the Old IM Fields. Relay For Life is an organization that means so much to many people, and I urge you to get involved.