Junior Kyle Rowley values the importance of contributing to good causes, but his recent participation in a campus fundraiser to support cancer research comes with an extra incentive.
“As someone who has had family who has had cancer, whenever you’re taking part in an event that’s raising awareness, raising money, it always feels like you’re a part of the fight, that you’re supporting them and their fight,” said Rowley, a junior majoring in microbiology and immunology and biochemistry and molecular biology. “It always feels good, and it’s doing good.”
Rowley was one of 44 students who attended “Cycle Sesh: Cycling Through the Decades.” The March 25 event at Lakeside Patio gave students a chance to get a cycle workout while raising money for the Miami Dolphins annual cancer challenge, which benefits UM’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We wanted to do an event on campus that was similar to the cycling competition that the Dolphins are doing,” said Brynne Wyatt, assistant director of Student Activities & Student Organizations. The Dolphins will sponsor its 11th daylong fundraiser on April 10.
It was the first time UM has sponsored the fundraiser for UM students. Wyatt said the UM effort raised $1,386.
“We were just trying to increase student awareness and involvement for both the Dolphins Challenge and the Sylvester Research Center,” he said. Patricia A. Whitely, senior vice president of Student Affairs, who attended with Scott Levin, executive director of the Wellness Center, said in a Facebook post that she is committed to growing the event.
Students donated $15 or $20 for a 30-minute cycling workout. Stationary bikes from the Herbert Wellness Center were brought to the patio for students to use. The four-hour cycling session began at 5:30 p.m. and allowed students to sign up for multiple sessions.
Music played through the loudspeakers on stage took students through the decades from the ‘80s to today’s top hits. The workouts were led by instructors Brittany Goins, Guido Milan and Elizabeth Oxsalida.
“Being a part of this event means I can challenge myself and also be a part bigger community that’s fighting towards finding a cure,” said Greeshma Venigalla, a junior majoring in neuroscience. “I think that makes me feel very fulfilled; it makes me feel like I’m giving back in my own way, apart from the $15, but being in a movement to fight against cancer.”
Venigalla said the fundraiser gave her a safe way to participate in a campus activity.
“Things like this—when they work with the protocols and still host fun events— make me feel like I am still enjoying my college experience regardless of the pandemic, which is great.” Venigalla said.
Rowley, who has a lab technician internship at the Miller School of Medicine, was also pleased that the university is hosting events during the pandemic.
“It’s really brought a new level of excitement and spirit to campus, which wouldn’t be here if we weren’t able to have these events,” Rowley said. “It’s more than just going to class and studying, you get to interact with people and meet new people, and if it’s for a great cause, all the better.”