September 22, 2019 | 77° F

10th annual Rutgers bed race draws roughly 1,000 spectators to Sicard Street

Photo by Rafal Stapinski and Rafal Stapinski |

Alpha Phi Omega got schwifty with a Rick and Morty themed bed, which was one of many creatively decorated vehicles in the dash down Sicard Street. The race has become one of Rutgers’ most spirited traditions, with thousands participating each year.

An idea, a bed and a group of students willing to come together for a good cause is all it takes to make a difference. After 10 years, the Homecoming Charity Bed Races found a new home on Sicard Street, hosting the same fundraiser and community meetup that has drawn droves of Rutgers students to the sidelines year after year. 

The interests of the Rutgers and New Brunswick community have met once a year, every year since 2007 to celebrate the competition between organizations on campus while raising money for a charity. This year’s event donated socks and underwear to elementary schools in the local community.

In previous years, the Bed Races collected items like diapers, said Mason Plotts, director of Traditions and Community for the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA). The event requires participants to collect more than 100 pairs of socks or underwear in order to race. The night before the event RUPA provides teams a space to build their best race-ready bed.

The Mason Gross School of the Arts junior said any club or organization on campus is allowed to compete as long as they register prior and donate. The event has seen everyone from New Student Orientation leaders, members of the Livingston Theatre Company (LTC), the RU SURE? team and more.

The transition to Sicard Street is due to the recent addition of bike and bus lanes on College Avenue, Plotts said. The new setup splits the street into two lanes, and beds race down both sides as preliminary rounds eliminate the competition.

Overall rankings are determined by donations, decoration and fastest time, Plotts said. Over 1,000 people typically come and watch.

“I think it was new and exciting because it was the 10th year anniversary, so it was a change of setting which actually really helped with our marketing. We said with our marketing it’s a new year, new street and new donations," Plotts said with regard to the change in streets.

This year marks the first year the grease truck and Starbucks truck made the event, Plotts said. Centering the event around homecoming weekend has always worked in favor of the event and brought crowds of students and families.

Beds that stood out included the Douglass Student Center’s Batman and the LTC’s "Into the Woods" themed beds, Plotts said.

Megan Coakley, a racer for the RU SURE? campaign, said throughout the event the organization was promoting the message that abstaining from drinking does not limit students to having a good time.

The group came together, printed t-shirts and made props in preparation for the race, the School of Arts and Sciences senior said. The organization is based out of an advanced organization class on campus while supporting the RU SURE? campaign. They hoped to spread awareness for the cause through the event.

“We are the 'Wizard of Oz,' so we are the yellow brick road. So our bed is designed to look like the yellow brick road from Oz,” she said.

The group came in second place last year and looked to reclaim their position, Coakley said.

“I think there’s a lot of cool events people don't necessarily get to participate in,” she said. “I’m a senior, so I think it’s fun to say I got to participate in this my senior year.”

Excessive amounts of cardboard, string and "Super Smash Brothers" went into the "Super Mario Galaxy" themed bed built by the Helyar House’s team, said Andrew De Los Santos, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior.

The cooperative living house on Cook campus made finishing touches on their bed with Gerardo Quiles, a Helyar House team member, fully suited in a monkey suit modeled after Donkey Kong.

De Los Santos said events like this show what they give back to the community. The visual product of community service is seen through all those involved and motivates the intent on winning after last year’s disappointing loss despite the team's quick times.

“I think it’s a really good cause that everyone should try out,” he said. “I like that the entrance fee is 100 underwear depending on which organization you are.”

Christian Zapata

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