By Anna Toth
The Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Northern Ohio is giving college students the chance to compete for a scholarship and the title of Man & Woman of the Year Collegiate Edition. By participating in a 10 week fundraising competition in the spring, students can win a $3,500 scholarship as well as helping a worthy cause.
The competition was started with help from Cleveland State’s Theta Phi Alpha chapter, who approached the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Northern Ohio this past spring about fundraising and scholarship opportunities. Currently, the LLS of Northern Ohio is looking for participants for the second Collegiate of the Year competition.
Caitlin MacBride, a representative from the LLS of Northern Ohio, explained that participating college students would create a team to help them raise the money. While they would have a team behind them, the scholarship and title of Collegiate of the Year would go to the person running the team.
“Participants can have a team behind them of 10 or more to back them in the fundraising efforts,” MacBride said, “But they act like the figurehead leading the cause.”
Participants are asked to raise a minimum of $10,000 dollars in 10 weeks between late February and early May. While this seems like a huge undertaking, the four college students who participated in the competition last year were able to raise a combined total of $80,000.
74 cents of every dollar raised for the LLS goes toward research and helping patients. The LLS of Northern Ohio tries to give the money donated to local research partners, such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.
“We like to keep what we raise as local as possible,” MacBride said.
Two Cleveland State students – Delaney Canfield and recent graduate Brianna Weis – participated in the first ever collegiate edition of the LLS’s Man and Woman of the Year competition last year. Weis, who graduated this past May, actually won the competition.
Now, MacBride and the LLS are looking for students to sign up for the upcoming fundraising competition this spring.
“We’re searching for participants now, as a way to prepare for those ten weeks,” MacBride said.
Participating college students can fundraise in a variety of ways, from recruiting on social media, letter writing, to even getting sponsors and holding events. It’s up to the college student and their backing team to figure out ways to raise the money, but they’re not completely on their own.
The LLS of Northern Ohio knows how big of an undertaking a fundraising campaign can be when you’re a college student. That’s why they try to sit down with interested students in advance to help plan their campaign around work, school and any other obligations in the college student’s life.
Even though the fundraising competition can be very demanding, it’s got huge rewards. Money goes directly towards research to end Leukemia and help patients. Even if students don’t win the competition, just competing can look good on your resume.
“If a company sees that you’ve raised $10,000 for an organization, that’s huge,” MacBride said.
MacBride was very pleased with the Cleveland State students that participated in the competition last year, and very impressed with their drive and initiative. She said that she would love to see more students from the university compete for Collegiate of the Year and encourages anyone who wants to do something different to reach out.
“Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone,” MacBride said, “The best candidates are those who just want to do something different.”