SSA at Presbyterian College Lights The Night
September 20, 2012
Most people have in some way been touched by cancer. In my own family, my grandfather succumbed to bone cancer, and both my grandmother and mother have had bouts with breast cancer. When I heard about the Foundation Beyond Belief’s challenge to secular groups to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I knew I wanted my group, Secular Student Alliance at Presbyterian College, to be a part of it.
It’s only been a month into the school year, and already we’ve raised over $1000! Some may be surprised at that amount of money run by such a small student group, but we’ve got a few things that help us out. For starters, our team members have excelled at getting people excited to help out. Our first fundraising event for LtN, a Pastafarian spaghetti dinner and movie night, attracted over 25 people and raised almost $100! Not too shabby for the four people on the team at the time.
But motivated members aren’t the only thing that give us an edge. Local businesses have contributed nearly half of what we raised. At first, we were a bit apprehensive approaching businesses. After all, we’re a secular group right in the middle of the Bible Belt. Would any business want to be associated with us?
As it turns out: Yes! Being a small school in a small town, the two businesses that we approached were more than happy to sell balloons to benefit our team. One is simply a local pizzeria that many Presbyterian College students patronize, but the other is a locally-owned pharmacy that doesn’t have the sort of connection with us. What we did connect on was fighting blood cancers. As I noticed during a block party at the beginning of the year (a collaboration between the school and the town for students to learn of what exists locally), their table had information on a marrow donor registry drive that they do every year. After talking for at most five minutes, they had gladly signed on to help us out!
Our fundraising has gone great so far, and we look forward to reaching our goal within the next month. Our future fundraising plans include having a table set up in the tailgating section of our home football games, tabling in the cafeteria during meal times, and continuing to have our local businesses sell balloons for us. These are all things that any other student group could do and replicate or even surpass our successes. I hope you all can join me in the fight against cancer.
If you are looking for information on how to start your team you can visit CFI’s Light The Night information page. You can also visit our CFI On Campus Light The Night fundraising page for ideas on how you can raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
About the Author: Harrison HopkinsHarrison Hopkins is the president and founder of the Secular Student Alliance at Presbyterian College and secretary for the school's Gay-Straight Alliance. He is currently studying Psychology. In 2011, Harrison successfully challenged the school-endorsed prayer at his commencement ceremony with assistance from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
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