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MCCC Is in the Pink in Fight Against Breast Cancer

11/20/17


At the finish line in memory of EOF Counselor Maria Rodriguez.

Members of the Cheer Dance Team applaud racers and walkers.

Fall bake sales helped EOF students raise funds.

"Vikings in Pink" in front of their Art Expression Tent.

Good wishes, thoughts and prayers adorned the MCCC Wish Tree.

West Windsor, N.J. – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) was in the pink this fall as two MCCC groups joined in the “Race for the Cure” on Nov. 5 at Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Their combined fundraising efforts totaled $1,650, which was donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Between the two groups, 30 MCCC representatives were among the large crowd of participants.

Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) students were part of “Team Lolita” with Senior Counselor Tricia Mayers. They completed the walk in memory of EOF Counselor Maria Rodriguez, who passed away last December. “It was very meaningful for students to get involved in this project,” Mayers said, adding that planning began in August.

“Team Lolita” partnered with Maria’s family during the walk. “We joined with Maria’s husband and children to honor this amazing woman,” Mayers said, recalling Rodriguez as an extraordinarily dedicated individual who served for more than 30 years at Mercer.

The EOF students held numerous bake sales in the Student Center in the two months leading up to the race. Among the delicious desserts for sale were slices of New York’s famous Juniors Cheesecake in recognition of Rodriguez’s New York City roots, as well as cupcakes created by Culinary Arts student Carmelia Smith, an EOF student who got to know Maria during the 2016 EOF Summer Academy.

“Students and staff alike remember Maria with admiration and affection. This was a fitting tribute,” Mayers said.

Another major effort, “Vikings In Pink,” was organized by College Advancement’s Michelle Hoffman, a two-time breast cancer survivor. “Having been through it myself, I felt the need to help others,” she said. “I know there are people on campus who have been impacted – either themselves directly or a member of their family. This was a way to offer encouragement and support.”

The team included members of the MCCC Cheer Dance Team, who applauded participants as they crossed the finish line. Funds were raised through campus donation boxes and tables set up outside the cafeteria, as well as on the “Vikings in Pink” donation webpage and individual walker pages.

In addition to walking with the “Vikings In Pink” team, MCCC Dean Alexandra Salas, MercerOnline Coordinator Jill Marcus and staff member Vicente Erazo created an Art Expression Tent, where race participants could add notes to a live “Wish Tree” and pen their thoughts on two large banners. The tree will be planted on the West Windsor Campus by the Horticulture Club and the banners will be hung at Mercer’s James Kerney Campus.

Hoffman reports that the art tent was a real success. “The race organizers placed it right next to the main stage. It got a lot of attention and many people expressed their feelings on our banners and cards,” Hoffman said.

Noting that it was her first time as a Race for the Cure participant, Hoffman said it was a great day for a great cause. "We were surrounded by love and support. It was really beautiful to see both students and staff involved. I was blown away.”

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