SGA gets pumped – Lift-a-Thon raises bar for charity

On Feb. 20, the second annual SGA Lift-a-Thon took place in Packer Hall. With the profits once again going to the Valerie Fund, the event was headed up this year by Mike Cilia, SGA vice president for Administration and Finance.

One year ago, the Student Government Association was searching for a possible fund-raiser in which 100 percent of the profits would go to a charity. Inspired by his own high school’s past fundraisers, SGA President Chris Portera brought the idea of a Lift-a-Thon to the College. On the suggestion of college alumni Dave Perry, the profits would be donated to the Valerie Fund, a camp set up for terminally ill children suffering from cancer.

“It’s a great event and I just wanted to keep it going,” said Cilia, who participated in the event and oversaw it.

Advertised in the Brower Student Center, Packer Hall and the Wellness Center, the Lift-a-Thon invited the men and women of the College community to show their strength through bench and leg presses. Sponsors of the participants made pledges, donating a either a set pledge – a definite amount of money no matter how much weight was pressed – or a pledge of a certain amount of money per every pound pressed.

The big winner of the night, donation-wise, was Team Rat. Comprised of six workers from the Rathskeller – including Manager Mike Davis, Manager Rich Colli and Rich Blanchard – the team was able to raise more money as a group this year than the total combined profit of the whole event last year, which had totaled $850.

Davis, who also participated in last year’s Lift-a-Thon, was happy to help out a good cause. Organizer of Team Rat, he said, “This year our goal was $2,000.” Combined, the team surpassed its hopes, raising $2,100.

All the other participants of the night – to bring the total number of lifters to 11 -raised a combined sum of $1,010.

Herve Damas, head of the Physical Enhancement Center, acted as spotter for the evening. He worked with SGA and the Department of Athletics to designate a spot for the event and set up the ground rules. He even created goodie-bags for the participants, containing such things as vitamins, protein bars and deodorant.

After Damas gave an account of how everything worked, and the participants had a short warm-up session. They took turns doing one bench or leg press each, adding more weight onto the bar each time their turn came around.

James Feeley, senior political science major and next year’s football team captain, was there as a participant. Leg-pressing over 800 lbs, he was glad to be a part of the event.

“I’m happy that I got to help people,” he said.

Laureen Biruk, a member of the Administration and Finance committee and the only female who bench-pressed, is a second-year participant of the Lift-a-Thon. Acting as a “representative of women everywhere,” she said she had fun being in the event the past two years.

Many people from SGA also turned out to show support for their organization and their friends.

Chris Portera cheered on his fellow SGA members, as did Brian Mulvihill, senator of business, and Karen Martin, senior class president.

Terisha Mears, senator-at-large and historian of the SGA, joked that she didn’t participate because she “didn’t want to break a nail.” But acting as “SGA motivator,” she took pictures and psyched up those who were awaiting their turn at the bench.

Even Armond Harris, a member of Campus Security and the Crime Awareness Program, was there with two fellow officers. Due to his job he couldn’t participate, but he was there to support all those involved. Harris, whose uncle suffered from cancer, was happy to be there.

“Usually we’re called in for something bad that’s happened, so it’s good to see people doing something positive,” she said.