By TREVOR YOUNG
Most students are probably familiar with UMW Relay for Life, an organization that supports the American Cancer Society, but many might not know of their yearly fundraiser Jail n’ Bail. As the name suggests, the fundraiser involves having faculty members and students wait in jail until their bail is placed. In this case, their bail is simply their fundraising goal.
One of the event organizers, Marleigh Eure, explained some of the history of Jail n’ Bail at UMW.
“Jail n’ Bail is an annual event as part of Real for Life that has been going on for about 10 years,” said Eure. “It is different, it’s fun, and a little more interesting than a bake sale. It’s unique!”
To prove her point Eure offered some anecdotes about faculty members who had participated in the program. One such story was of Marty Morrison, the woman responsible for the UMW snow day emails.
“Of course, I was just joking, but I did need to send out an email about weekend parking restrictions because of possible inclement weather,” said Morrison said.
Rumor had it she had been reminding students of her responsibility as a way of getting out of jail faster.
“I always love to participate in the “jail and bail,” not only because it’s a worthy cause, but I enjoy any opportunity to be around our students,” said Morrison. “When students passed by the “jail,” I reminded them that I was the ‘snow lady’ and joked that I might be encouraged to cancel school. It’s all done in jest. Of course, I don’t have that authority since that decision is made by the vice president of Finance and Administration. I’m just the University’s official messenger, but, often students think I make the call.”
Faculty members are not the only ones allowed to participate. Students are also welcome to serve jail time in order to raise money. Such was the case with Gabe Lewis, a UMW student exposed to Jail n’ Bail through a friend.
“It was fun to see all of the support pour in from friends and family, some of who I don’t regularly talk to,” said Lewis. “I was able to bail out of jail before the event even occurred because of online support and I even doubled my goal.”
Relay for Life also put out wanted posters for UMW faculty members, such as Professor Helmstutler, the Chair of the Math Department, who was imprisoned for thinking a hotdog was a sandwich, instead of its own unique food. The charges were brought about by his students, and executed by the members of UMW Relay for Life. In response to his charges, Professor Helmstutler had this to say.
“Now, regarding my charges,” said Professor Helmstutler. “I think this is a fairly serious matter. Let’s step back for a minute and think about what a “sandwich” is. Anyone would agree that a sandwich is a comestible item, delivered to the mouth by the hands, the contents held intact by bread. Now consider the hot dog. Is it not the same? Yes, of course it is, hence it is a sandwich.
Some will attempt to argue that the orientation of the bread matters: it should be flat and horizontal, like a traditional BLT. Some will argue that the bread should be in two separate pieces, thereby disqualifying the traditional hot dog bun. All of these arguments are silly grasps at straws, a feeble attempt to ostracize the hot dog and for no good reason. If you wish to charge me with considering a hot dog as a sandwich, then I happily plead guilty. Whether or not this should be a crime at all, that is the real question.”
Professor Helmstutler remarked how well he thinks the event went.
“I met my entire goal in less than a day, and at the end I had more than doubled my goal,” said Professor Helmstutler. ”Looking back, I’m not all that shocked at how easy it was, since I have a great group of friends and family and the cause sells itself. I think it was all made very easy because of the high visibility of Relay For Life: people everywhere know what it is and are willing to help. All I had to do was ask.”
It is likely that UMW Relay for Life will conduct the event next year, but people looking for further opportunities to volunteer this spring are encouraged to get involved with Relay for Life’s main overnight event on Saturday, April 21. More information can be found on their website at relayforlife.org/umwva.