‘Hope is the real tradition’ at annual Relay for Life


Courtesy / Saint Anselm College

Colleen McConnell ‘22 and Caroline Kiley ‘24 walk the 2022 Relay.

Flannery Moore, Culture Editor

Relay for Life is an annual event held to raise money for cancer research. Clubs and other campus organizations form teams, and each participant raises funds both on their own and with their team as they walk the relay in the Carr Center for hours overnight. This year’s Relay for Life kicks off at 6pm on March 10 and co-chairs Jackie Welch ‘23 and Pete Golden ‘23 can’t wait to “See the impact that our small school has on charities such as the American Cancer Society.”

 Relay for Life is put on by Saint Anselm’s service societies, Saint Elizabeth Seton Society, Koinonia Society, King Edward Society, and the Red Key Society. Welch stated that “Three to four members, including their society president, of each society make up our committee to represent their membership.” 

Welch described what goes into the planning process for such a big event: “Every year we start planning several months in advance. We have meetings every two weeks to discuss various things that go into planning a seven hour long event. What many people may not know is that we are constantly getting in touch with people about the little things so that the night goes smoothly. For example, we must coordinate all of the food for the night far in advance.” She added that since the committee does “not have money of our own to spend on the event…we have to get creative and ask for donations from departments on campus.” 

On the day of the relay, committee members head to the Carr Center early to get started on “everything, from coordinating where each Relay Team goes to getting the speakers geared up for the event.” 2022’s Relay was the first event back in person since the pandemic started, and Welch stated that “Last year the committee did an amazing job bringing [the event] back, so we are trying to continue their hard work.”

 Welch said, “This year’s focus was definitely to tap into how things were done in the past before COVID-19 struck campus and caused Relay to be canceled in 2020 and altered in 2021. There are some events that were not there last year that are definitely going to be implemented this year.” Students will have to sign up for Relay in order to find out just what those events are.  Welch’s “personal favorite part of being on the committee is seeing everything come together in the end.” She says, “I love planning things, so seeing it come to life brings me a lot of joy.” 

For those whom planning things might not bring as much joy as it does Welch, Relay still holds a lot of meaning. As Welch described it, “The meaning of Relay for Life for me is hope. It is hope for the survivors who are present at Relay to know that our entire community has their back, it is hope for a cure for cancer, it is hope for the freshmen that attend that they are truly in the right place, and it is hope for the faculty and staff who get to see their students bonding and having fun on campus outside the classroom.”  

Relay for Life is a significant Anselmian tradition in its own right, but, in Welch’s words, “Hope is the real tradition on this campus.” Hope is indeed a fundamental Anselmian values, and Relay is just one of the many events that allow students, faculty, and members of the monastic community to model hope through social activism.