Organizations sprint for annual bed races

Last night, Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, prisoners and pirates sprinted down College Avenue — all in the name of Scarlet spirit.

To kick off Homecoming weekend, the Rutgers University Programming Association and the Rutgers University Alumni Association sponsored the seventh annual “Homecoming Charity Bed Races.” 

A total of 61 organizations participated in yesterday’s event. Each organization decorates a bed with an appropriate theme and selects four members — three pushers and one rider — to race other beds down College Avenue, starting in front of Bishop Quads, passing the College Avenue Student Center and finishing in front of Brower Commons. 

RUPA encouraged each participating organization to donate at least 300 diapers to Cuddle Me Diaper Bank, said Jennifer Holt, assistant director of traditions and community at RUPA. The Division of Student Affairs provided these organizations with beds.

The teams were judged by five categories: speed, the amount of collected diapers, the racers’ costumes, the bed’s decoration and the most spirited. Teams were awarded by individual categories and best overall performance. 

Theta Tau, a co-ed professional engineering fraternity, won first place overall and donated the most diapers, said Ryan Griffith, director of RUPA’s Outreach Committee. Iota Phi Theta fraternity won second place overall and first place for speed. The College Avenue Student Center staff won third place overall. 

Dressed as characters from the hit TV show “Orange is the New Black,” the sorority Sigma Lambda Gamma scored the award for best costume, Griffith said. The fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon won the award for the best decorated bed, and Livingston Theater Costume was deemed the most spirited. 

“Homecoming Charity Bed Races” became a Rutgers tradition in 2007, with only 15 teams participating. Now that participation has more than quadrupled, hundreds of students had gathered at 9 p.m. last night to watch this year’s event. 

“It’s a really cool tradition,” Holt said. “It brings the whole community together, and it’s for charity, so I think it’s a lot of fun.”

RUPA gave students pompoms and cowbells to rally them for this Saturday’s homecoming game versus the University of Wisconsin’s Badgers. Announcers encouraged the audience to shout and cheer for their favorite teams. The RUAA provided attendees with a photo booth. 

As a cosponsoring organization, RUAA’s bed was the first to team to race. 

When the event began, the teams collected enough diapers to help more than 350 children. Last year, the Rutgers community helped more than 32,000 children by raising a record 26,000 diapers for the cause.

Holt and the rest of the RUPA team hopes to beat last year’s numbers.


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