On March 31st Occidental set a record out on Patterson Field. No, it wasn’t a track meet or lacrosse game, however, many sports and clubs came together to help make the record setting day possible. It was Relay for Life, and it was the best one so far! This week’s campus celebrity, Adriel Henriksen, was an integral part of making it so successful and fun. Besides being Co-Chair of Relay for Life, she is also involved in Dance Production, Glee Club, Accidentals, tour guiding for Admissions and ushering for Keck. She also canvasses for Vote for Equality, which confronts homophobia on campus and fights for LGBTQ rights through the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. Adriel performed with them at Relay and sang her solo in “Landslide” beautifully! Of Glee Club she says, “Everyone in Glee Club has become like family. They’re an incredibly talented group of musicians which means that there is never a shortage of people to jam with and everyone is passionate about their own style of music, so it’s cool to see that come together in an ensemble.” Adriel is from Vancouver, Washington and is majoring in Psychology with a possible minor in Kinesiology.
What was your position at Relay this year? What was it like running such a big event?
This year I was Co-Chair of Relay (along with my lovely partner in crime, Emma Kraft), specifically heading growth & development. This basically means that I was in charge of fundraising and recruitment, but since our committee was so small we all did a little of everything. Running the event was incredible! It is such a wonderful event to be a part of because so many groups on campus are involved and it’s for such a great cause.
Why did you choose to get so involved with Relay?
Relay is something that I had been involved in at my high school through Key Club, so I signed up at the involvement fair freshmen year. Thomas and Eliza, the co-chairs last year, had great energy and made Relay something really fun to be a part of, which encouraged me to take on more of a leadership position this year.
The cause is also one near to my heart since I know so many people who have been affected by cancer. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer my freshman year in high school, and through that experience I learned that many of my friends and relatives had also been affected. Relay is so important because it raises awareness about cancer prevention and treatment, brings people together to cope with the tragedies and obstacles cancer has put in their way, and works towards finding a cure. It’s all about hope and working together to fight back in a positive way.
What were the highlights or problems?
At the beginning it was pretty overwhelming, just due to the size of the event and the fact that most of our committee was new, but everyone definitely stepped up to the challenge! I was also impressed by the turnout this year. We had a lot of new teams come out this year, like the Biology department and some of the cultural clubs on campus like Sabor, MEChA*ALAS and the Chinese Culture Club. Relay has been dominated by Greek Life and sports teams in the past, so it was one of my goals this year to attract new areas of campus life that are an integral part of the Oxy community. And people stuck it out in the rain! I am so proud of how many teams continued to walk through the wind and rain in the middle of the night. They were such troopers!
How did Relay do this year?
Relay was extremely successful this year! We rose over $43,00 for the ACS ($3,000 more than last year) and brought in new clubs/organizations. All the teams worked hard to fundraise in some pretty creative ways (t-shirts, bake sales, etc) and we’ve been told by athletics, facilities, and student life that this has been the best Relay yet, which is great to hear!
Can people still donate to Relay?
Yes! People can still donate. The American Cancer Society can always use more support. We are actually in a March Madness competition against other schools in Southern California based on our fundraising amounts! We have made it to the Final Four (!!) and are now up against UC San Diego for one of the top spots. Follow the link below to donate through our event:
After Adriel graduates she is interested in volunteering with Teach for America and then working towards a teaching degree in grad school. She comments, “I’m not entirely sure what I want my future to look like, but I’ll be pretty happy as long as it includes time for traveling and some good vegan cupcakes.”