What do you Relay for?

Word Count: 505

By Marissa Burns

Over 100 students gave up their Friday night in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

On Friday, April 21, the SECU arena stayed open from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. It allowed students from over 15 organizations to walk laps, donate money, and listen to the stories of those who survived their battle with cancer.

“My first relay was in eighth grade,” said Cristal Willis, 22, community manager at the American Cancer Society. “When I came to college I was urged to join and then soon after they asked me to become the chair of the organization.”

Willis helped plan Towson’s relay event last year when she was the chair of the organization.

“It’s a ton of work,” Willis said. “We start planning in September and don’t stop until the event is here,” Willis said.


They relay for life organization has weekly meetings in order to make sure the event runs smoothly. They secure sponsorships and T-shirts. They also have to make sure everything is set with the Towson event staff.

Many sororities and organizations came out on Friday to show their support and listen to the many cancer survivors in attendance. They set up bake sales and activities in each of their designated sections so others at the event could check them out and donate a dollar or two.

Every hour the volunteers for relay would host a new activity for everyone to play. At one point 20 college students piled onto a giant tarp to play a large game on twister. While an hour later they played human hungry hungry hippos.

“We want everyone to have a good time, without forgetting about the reason they’re here.” Willis said.

Relay 2

They only have one rule at Relay for Life, and that’s to keep walking. They remind everyone to have someone from their party walking the track at all points in the night.

About halfway through the students hold the luminaria ceremony. Every white bag that is put throughout the room is lit with Christmas lights and all the other lights in the room go off. Everyone in the room is handed a glow stick and told to break it only when it pertains to them. A student on stage says that if cancer has affected their mother or father to break their glow stick. They go down the line of family members and then move on to friends. Soon, everyone in the room has a glowing glow stick in their hand.

Relay 3

“It’s a very emotional time,” Willis said. “I always cry during the ceremony even when it doesn’t pertain to me.”

Everyone in the room is asked to take a lap in silence. Instead of taking just one lap, the entire room walks for ten minutes in silence, until someone turns on a slideshow of cancer victims and survivors.

“It still amazes me to see all the support from college students,” Willis said.

Although by 3 a.m. the number of students still in attendance was scarce, the support that the students have for the organization is uncanny.



Twenty Years of Color Guard in the Making

Word Count: 584

By Marissa Burns

Under the direction of Amy Brown, the Towson University Winter Guard made the trip to Dayton, Ohio for the Winter Guard International (WGI) world championship competition.

Amy Brown, 30, has been involved in the color guard universe for 18 years, starting when she was just thirteen-years-old. Brown wanted to be involved in the middle school band; however, was unable to play an instrument, march, and memorize music at the same time. Already having experience in dance, Brown turned to the middle school’s color guard program.

“I wanted to join the majorette’s,” Brown said. “But since I was left handed and majorettes’ mainly twirl the baton in their right hand I wasn’t able to pick it up.”

Starting in high school Brown auditioned for a Drum Corps International (DCI) drum corps. For the entire summer, Brown traveled the country with Crossman, where she would practice and perform under the blazing sun.

Brown started her college career at Bloomsburg University for Elementary Education before transferring to Shippensburg University for sociology.

“I switched majors and schools because I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. After missing the Praxis by a few points I knew I needed a change,” Brown said.

The Praxis is a series of exams that college students need to pass in order to get their teaching license.

She continued teaching color guard as a side job as she started working in a juvenile center. Brown wanted to help children, but it still wasn’t the job for her. Finally, an administrator assistant job opened up at Towson University and Brown applied for it.

Although she wasn’t thinking about teaching at the University, the band director, John Miliauskas, of the college contacted her after seeing her application. After seeing her name and her extensive resume within the band community, Miliauskas asked if she would consider helping instruct the color guard if she got the job.

“It was after I accepted the position and started teaching the color guard in the summer when I realized this was my dream job,” Brown said.

On April 5, the winter guard traveled to Dayton, Ohio to compete in their last competition of the season. Over the course of three days, color guards from all over the world came to compete in three rounds: prelims, semis, and finals. This was the Towson’s guard’s fourth year competing in this competition.

Out of 65 competing winter guards, Towson placed 38th; only two spots away from making it into the next round.

“The trip was emotional overall,” Brown said. “The past season had so many ups and downs and the guard deserved so much more than what they were given. I felt like I let them down.”

Although their performance experience was cut short the guard kept their spirits high with the opportunity to witness the performance of other guards.

“Seeing the emotions on everyone’s faces when they witnessed the world guards perform made the trip worth it,” Brown said.

There are three different classes of guards that went to the competition. Class A, open, and world; A being on the more basic end while world class being the best of the best.

“We also had the chance to see the Free Players preform, a color guard for young adults with autism and disabilities. When they finished performing and I saw my guard cheering and wiping tears from their eyes, I knew the trip was worth all the hardships of the season,” Brown said.

Although the season is over, Brown is already planning ideas for the next season’s show.



Celebrating the end of the Sugar Season with Pancakes

Word Count: 402

By Marissa Burns

This is the 31st year that members of the Cockeysville community flocked to the Oregon Ridge Nature Center to celebrate the end of the sugar season.

Nearly 1000 individuals stood in line, grabbed a plate of pancakes, a cup of coffee and listened to the folk band  between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. on March 4 and 5.

After they finished their breakfast they had the opportunity to get another plate for seconds, browse the many raffle prizes or purchase a carnation flower in a multitude of colors.

“It started as a fluke,” said Winny Tan, director of the nature center, “we wanted to give back to the volunteers who helped cultivate the maple syrup here and ended up with a fun fundraiser that the community loves.”

The staff at Oregon Ridge does not make all the maple syrup themselves because the park does not have enough maple trees for that. Instead, they are partnered with a family farm up in Pennsylvania; which is where most of the syrup from the event came from. Tan said that the nature center does make a blueberry walnut syrup that the staff and community loves.

“Fundraisers like this help make other events free to the community,” Tan said.

The members of the nature center hope to educate the community about the environment and how to become more eco-friendly. A few other events that take place in the park are a honey harvest, a maple sugar weekend, and music in the woods.

Matthew Scott, a sophomore at Towson University, attended the event with his family. They’ve been coming to this fundraiser for the past five years and plan on coming back for many more years to come. Since becoming a student at Towson. Scott rarely gets the chance to see his family.

“It’s a great way to spend some time together,” Scott said.

“We’ve attended other events too,” said Luke Scott, 16. “They’re really cool, especially the canoeing they have in the summer.”

The Scott family hopes to make it to many of the other events the nature center has to hold.

The next event the nature center is holding will be on March 11, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The workshop will explain the valuable properties of gourds and afterward the attendees will get the chance to decorate their own gourd however they please.  The entry fee is $20 ($15 for members) and is aimed at ages 16 and older.


First Amendment


Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.