An unordinary scene greeted the unsuspecting passerby who made their way past Fauver Stadium last Sunday. The Fauver turf, normally home to varsity, club and even intramural sports played host to a different kind of athletic event: charity. Littered with well over 100 students, it was hard not to take pride in the impressively large turnout of students that wanted to contribute to a good cause. Or at least to kick the crap out of a soccer ball for a while.
For onlookers who had no idea what was taking place — as well as the masses who dared to not face the frigid temperatures and the bite of a harsh wind — I speak, of course, about the Newman Cup. Through a joint effort of the Newman community and the Saint Sebastian Society (a volunteer student-run group composed of varsity and club sport athletes), the annual Cup is a five-on-five soccer tournament raising money for migrant farm workers in the greater Monroe County.
Sophomore Bridget Kruszka, co-organizer of the event, explained the significant need for and tremendous impact of the Newman Cup.
“Migrant farm workers are people who are working for ridiculously low wages and don’t have sufficient funds to meet their daily needs,” Kruszka said. “We had 22 teams participate and raised over 700 dollars.”
Participants were well aware of the good they were doing. Bundling up in layers and spandex, members from every aspect of the Rochester student body imaginable — from religious affiliates, social activists and student government officials to the varsity basketball, soccer and track and field teams — came willing to donate their Sunday afternoons (their entire afternoons, given that the tournament lasted well over five hours) to something bigger than themselves.
Senior Andrew Cirillo, a member of the fourth-place Knights of Columbus and three-time participant in the Cup, saw both the fun and the cause as reasons to get involved.
“I return each year mainly because of the message it provides to the community,” Cirillo said. “The tournament … provides community action through donations in a fun and team-oriented manner. We play soccer to help out the less fortunate. How much more fun could one have, while helping those in need, all at the same time?”
Cirillo, Kruszka and the many others who help make the Newman Cup a success each year are doing what we all should be: lending a hand to the community at large. For despite the seemingly impenetrable bubble that distinguishes town from gown, the UR student body has an opportunity — perhaps even a duty — to give back to the city for which the school is named. Only then can this establishment be deemed the University of Rochester, rather than simply a university.
Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.