Q&A: Mount A Shinerama chair Rachel Harding on this year's campaign

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Money goes to support fight against Cystic Fibrosis

Mount Allison students have a goal of $50,000 in this year's Shinerama Campaign, including $20,000 over the summer months.

Rachel Harding, this year’s chair of Shinerama at Mount Allison, is hoping to match last year’s fundraising goal of $50,000.

Fourth-year commerce student Rachel Harding of Bedford, N.S. is this year’s Shinerama chair. Shinerama, which raises money for cystic fibrosis research, is Canada’s largest post-secondary fundraiser. Shine Day takes place during orientation week at 65 universities across Canada, with 35,000 students heading out into the surrounding communities to raise money and awareness about cystic fibrosis through activities such as car washes and shining shoes. Follow the Mount Allison Shinerama Campaign on Twitter – @MASUShinerama.

1. What made you want to take on this huge project?

I’ve been part of Shinerama my past three years and it has been the best part of my Mount A experience. I love it. So it seemed natural to get more involved with it. It is a daunting position to be in, but we have a lot of support so I think that our goals are achievable.

What is comforting to me is seeing how many Mount A alumni are still involved. One in 10 people at the national conference were from Mount A, currently or alumni, so if I need help, there are people I can go to. On top of that, the community support is already here, I don’t have to start from the ground up. Everybody already knows this is what we are doing and people look forward to it.

2. What is your goal for this year?

$50,000, which is the same goal as last year. The 50 seemed appropriate as it is the 50th anniversary of Shinerama.

We hope to raise $20,000 over the summer, $20,000 on Shine Day, and $10,000 online. We have a lot of things planned for the summer like bottle drives, coffeehouses, and the annual garden party at Hammond House. We are also planning a 5K run, something new for this year, as was the kickball tournament. 

3. Mount Allison’s Shinerama campaign has been recognized in the past as the best in the country — how do you live up to that reputation?

It is definitely big shoes to fill. We usually have around the sixth highest total raised in the country, which is absolutely astonishing. At the national conference, we were grouped by campaign size and I was with schools like Laurier and Western. There, if they get $5 per student, they already have more than we could ever hope for, so we have to do things a bit differently. It just comes down to the dedication of our students, which is a characteristic of Mount A — getting really involved.

4. What has been the best part of the job so far?

Being able to go to the national Shinerama conference in London, ON and seeing what a big difference our campaigns make. On average, each year 10 months is added to the lifespan of someone with cystic fibrosis. When the campaign started in 1964 the lifespan of someone with CF was six years old. Fifty years later, life expectancy is almost 50, which is incredible.

5. Why should students get involved in Shinerama?

Shine Day is your first introduction to the Mount A spirit of giving back. It is for a good cause, but it is also a lot of fun. Seeing the difference we make is so rewarding and that our small school can do something so big is a source of pride for Mount A. 

Geographic location: London, ON

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