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Relay will remain outside this year

April 15th, 2010

John Carroll University will host the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” event on April 24 through the morning of April 25 on the campus quad.

This is the fourth annual Relay held at JCU. In years past, the Relay was held on the temporary lot outside of Grasselli Library and moved to the D.J. Lombardo Student Center at night, but this year it will be different – all events will take place and remain outside.

Rachel Ball, graduate assistant for the office of student activities, was adamant about keeping the event outdoors.

“That [moving Relay inside] doesn’t make sense,” Ball said. “That’s not what relays are.”

The purpose of the ACS tradition is to show that “cancer never sleeps,” a theme of the Relay, and those who are raising money to fight cancer show their support throughout the entire night.

In an interview with Sun Press, Ball said, “We just want to be outside. We’re willing to accommodate the community’s concerns.”

Since the location was moved to the quad, the event will be more enclosed by campus buildings, providing privacy to those in the community who want to maintain peace throughout the night.

Other accommodations include changing the time of the event. Instead of 3 p.m. to 9 a.m., Relay will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and end at 4 a.m. on Sunday. Also, the amplified sound is scheduled to end around 9 p.m.

There are practical reasons for holding Relay outside, too.

“It helps us sustain our participation, it provides more of a unified front and it’s cost effective,” Ball said. “We no longer have to rent a stage for staging equipment, which saves about $3,000.”

According to Ball, both the attendance and morale take a hit when venues change.
JCU has seen problems with holding events outside. The community around the campus has voiced complaints with the nightly events. In fact, there are ordinances for things such as when the stadium lights can be used.

Dora Pruce, JCU’s director of government and community relations, credits the cityís new administration and better communication as reasons for the official event being allowed to stay outside all night.

“There is a new administration and that has changed the tone at the City and at Council,” said Pruce. “The City and the University are working more closely and are communicating on a more regular basis, resulting in some of these positive changes.”

Before Mayor Susan Infeld was elected, John Carroll hosted open forums for mayoral candidates in University Heights. During that time, Ball made valiant efforts to sway the administration towards allowing this compromise to take place.
Her target was not only directed at the mayor, but also the city council.

“I stressed that it’s a community event and not just a JCU event. We really wanted participation from the community,” said Ball.

The city ordinance requires that the stadium lights are to be turned off at 9 p.m. for intramural events and 10 p.m. for varsity football and soccer (not including overtime). Any other additional event needed approval from the city.

Infeld made a motion at a council meeting that JCU be allowed to hold Relay outside all night, which city council approved for this year.

“This was a huge shift, and a positive one,” said Pruce.