Roaming around campus on Saturday, among students, were some furry four-legged creatures, as part of the College's first-ever Wag-A-Thon.
Senior Megan McHugh devised the event for her Communication Arts major project class, taught by Professor of Communications Pat Keeton, and planned it for three months. After fellow professor Christina Smith suggested McHugh help raise money for the Ramapo Bergen Animal Refugee, Inc. (RBARI), she was sold on the idea.
"RBARI is a no-kill animal shelter located in Oakland, New Jersey that does great work taking in and caring for abandoned, abused and unwanted cats and dogs," McHugh explained. "RBARI is a non-profit organization and therefore needs all the fundraising help they can get."
The event proved to be a success, raising $441 for RBARI. McHugh reports over 60 participants and over 20 dogs attended.
"A mixture of Ramapo students, faculty, RBARI volunteers, families and their dogs came together to walk, play, participate in contests, and donate to this wonderful cause," McHugh said. "The weather was great, and everyone had so much fun."
Ramsey resident Alexis Myers was inspired to attend the Wag-A-Thon to help support RBARI, the shelter where she adopted her own puppy.
"I actually was shopping at Petco one afternoon when I saw a flier for the event," Myers explained. "I saw that they were partnering with RBARI, and I just had to attend. That's where I got my puppy, [and] he is now a permanent member of our family."
According to the Paws and Claws Society, Inc., a New Jersey organization dedicated to the protection of all animals, more than 12 million dogs and cats are euthanized ever year in pounds and shelters across the country, a figure which increases in rural and urban areas.
"The fact is there are simply not enough homes for them," according to their website.
But, RBARI is a unique shelter, according to Wayne resident Annabel Navarro and local animal shelter volunteer, because of its no-kill policy.
"It's sad, but we used to have to put down the majority of our dogs," Navarro said of the shelter where she volunteered. "We didn't have space for all of them, and neither did the surrounding animal shelters. Some of these dogs had so much hope; they were well behaved and trained to perfection."
RBARI volunteers also attended the Wag-A-Thon, which helped unite all of the participants together.
"There aren't too many events on campus that involve people from outside Ramapo," said sophomore David Rodriguez. "It's nice seeing how people come together for such a good cause. I appreciate RBARI coming to the event also; it shows how much they actually care."
In all, McHugh said that while her project took a lot of planning, it exceeded her expectations.
"Throughout my planning of the event, I could have never expected how successful it would turn out," she said. "I truly could not be happier with how Wag-A-Thon turned out, and I had a lot of fun planning it.