The Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) held its 13th annual Homecoming Bed Race yesterday, which saw 36 teams collect and donate masks for the Roosevelt Elementary School in New Brunswick.
At the event, teams of four competed in racing while riding on beds with wheels. These teams consisted of members from campus organizations including Greek Life and other student clubs.
In order to participate in this year’s bed races, each team at the school had to donate at least 40 brand new, washable, child-sized cloth masks for the students. Rutgers’ annual bed racing event is held every year to raise funds for a different purpose.
Carlos Ortiz, Senior School Arts and Sciences and Director of Conditions and Community at RUPA, discussed the reasons for putting on masks for the school.
He stated that RUPA had contacted Roosevelt Elementary School to find out what the most useful donation would be for the New Brunswick community. Together they came to the conclusion that donating a mask would help the students in the community the most.
The ongoing goal of Bed Races is to raise the largest possible donation to send to the school so that each participating team is encouraged with prizes and rewards to keep working to build the donation, Ortiz said.
“We also have trophies and stuff for organizations that donate the most, so there are little prizes along the way,” he said. “Ideally, we want organizations to really bunker and get as many masks as possible donated.”
Ortiz said the primary importance of the bed races is that the event bridges the gap between the Rutgers community and the community of families living in New Brunswick.
“As a Rutgers student, it’s very easy to forget that you don’t just live with Rutgers, you live in New Brunswick,” he said. “Pretty much one of the ways we’re trying to bridge that gap between students and the greater New Brunswick area is through bed races. It’s a huge community building event. “
The event was attended by members of various fraternities and sororities, the Rutgers Dance Marathon, the ROTC, and other campus organizations. Kayla Sleeper, a senior school of engineering and a member of the Rutgers Chapter of the Omega Phi Alpha National Service Student Association, shared her experience as part of her sorority’s bed racing team.
Sleeper has expressed enthusiasm for participating in this year’s event as a senior since it was her first time. She said she had wanted to attend since her sophomore year but couldn’t fit it into her schedule before the pandemic.
She also discussed how the concept of bed races fits in with the goals of her sisterhood, which is service-focused.
“It’s really cool to do something that is fun, but then know that there is a purpose and a reason behind it, and knowing what you are doing can help other people,” said Sleeper. “That’s why I love (Omega Phi Alpha) and the sisterhood, we all just love doing things to help other people.”
Ellie Rosenberg, Junior School of Nursing and Vice President of Campus Relations for the Rutgers Chapter of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sisterhood, discussed with her sisterhood for the first time about participating in this year’s bed racing event.
Rosenberg said she remembered watching the bed races in her freshman year at Rutgers and thought it looked like a fun event. She said she was very excited to receive a good dedication from her sisterhood when she suggested going to the bed races.
“I was very happy and now have a few people on the decoration committee. It sounded like a lot of fun because I went to see them personally (my first year), ”said Rosenberg. “So now that I’m in an organization on campus, I wanted to be part of this fun.”
Ortiz said one of his team’s primary goals this year is to create a sense of normalcy for the pre-pandemic event and further build on the tradition of bed races in Rutgers and New Brunswick.
“(We want to) make sure that students have a really fun and meaningful experience at our events,” he said. “And that the groups that decide on one of our events, especially the bed races, take more than just the trophies with them.”