The Student Activities Board announced last Wednesday that the theme for the 2021 Drake Relays Week will be “Fast Forward.” They also announced a schedule of events for Relays Week (April 18 to 24).
The futuristic theme was described as “kind of fast-forwarding past the pandemic and into the future at Drake” during the announcement.
“That’ll be the theme for Painted Street, so all the squares will be designed in the futuristic-like way,” said Sarah Herring, one of the two Student Activities Board (SAB) co-chairs for Drake Relays. “When the street painting applications are submitted from the student organizations, Amber [the other Relays co-chair] and I will pick out which designs we think like best fits the futuristic ‘Fast Forward’ theme to be put on Painted Street.”
While many traditional Relays Week events will take place, including the Relays Carnival and the Beautiful Bulldog Contest, the schedule has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. SAB officials said student organizations must sign up for time slots to paint their assigned square on Painted Street. SAB president Reilly Atkins said the traditional Relays paint fight will not be held due to COVID-19 concerns.
“And we were thinking, we cannot have, you know, 400 people on this street altogether, even if they’re wearing masks. That is just like, too close for comfort,” Atkins said. “So that was an automatic decision… And then we had like a long conversation about the paint fight. And again, it’s just one of those things where we cannot ensure that people are going to have their six feet of distance, just because of the nature of the event.”
Atkins said the announcement of the 2021 Relays Concert was postponed due to logistical issues that have been complicated by COVID-19 precautions. She also said that the concert itself will take place sometime in the weeks following Relays, and will likely use a pod system in which students can sign up to attend the concert with a few friends.
“It’s going to happen in some way or another, it’s just a matter of like, figuring out where and when and how,” Atkins said. “It’s something we’ve been working on for several months, not only with the artists that we’re trying to book but also a bunch of different offices within Drake’s kind of system.”
Other Relays events include a glow-in-the-dark hip-hop class led by a Drake Wellness instructor, outdoor movie nights, a virtual trivia night and the April 14 kickoff event, “Boom Boom Bingo,” according to the 2021 SAB Drake Relays packet. There will also be a “Paint It Black” event where students will listen to members from the Drake community speak about racial inequalities, the Paint It Black movement, and Drake’s social justice efforts.
“And then, after the people speak, we’ll have people come up like a couple at a time to sign their names to that ‘Paint It Black’… circle at the end of Painted Street as like a commitment to racial equity,” Atkins said.
Drake sophomore Connor Oetzmann said that he and his friends are excited to experience the Drake Relays for the first time this year after the cancellation of the 2020 Relays.
“I think [the cancellation] was one of the biggest letdowns, ‘cause everyone in the fall of our first year was talking about how amazing the spring semester was, and how awesome the Drake Relays events were,” Oetzmann said. “And so it was a little bit of a letdown, not getting to experience that, but obviously due to the circumstances, it was understandable.”
Atkins said she is looking forward to seeing the newly painted squares on Painted Street.
“And just in general, just like seeing campus kind of come together because that’s something that we haven’t really been able to do this year,” Atkins added. “Like, at all. All of our large events—like SAB’s and a bunch of other student organizations—had to be scaled back, so it’s gonna be really cool just to like see everyone again. And having a good time! And uniting just to like, love Drake and love Relays.”
For more information about Relays Week visit linktr.ee/drakesab.