Green Street shuts down to liven up for cancer awareness

By Jonathan Wroble

For Colleges Against Cancer, the coming of autumn is the perfect time to unleash its own fall color: purple.

Tonight marks the fourth annual Paint Green Street Purple, a block party with food, fun and educational facts about cancer. The event will run from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and will be located on Green Street between Sixth and Wright streets.

Paint Green Street Purple started as a springtime celebration directly following Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society fundraiser. Today, however, the diverse event is held in the fall and fundraising is no longer its focal point.

“The goal (of Paint Green Street Purple) is to bring cancer awareness to the community and to do it in a way that’s really fun,” said Michelle Zeman, president of Colleges Against Cancer and a senior in LAS. This year’s entertainment lineup features the event’s largest number of musical acts ever and the radio station 95.3 “The Rock.”

The Illini Drumline will kick off the night, followed by University a cappella singing groups No Comment, the Girls Next Door and the Xtension Chords. Illini Contraband, another music group, will perform last.

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Meanwhile, attendants can participate in charitable activities, such as making flower pen displays to decorate hospital waiting rooms. There will also be a contest to design the next “Think Pink” t-shirt for October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We’re really looking to promote all of the different things that (the American Cancer Society) does,” said Jennifer Klodnicki, a University graduate and income development representative with the American Cancer Society.

In addition to publicizing “Think Pink,” a breast cancer awareness campaign, Colleges Against Cancer volunteers will be offering information about the Great American Smoke Out, the Cancer Care Network and Relay for Life.

“(This University’s Colleges Against Cancer) is a model chapter both within the state of Illinois and within the country,” said Klodnicki.

It is also the only Resident Student Organization that closes off Green Street, said Sgt. Scott Friedlein, special events coordinator for the Champaign Police Department.

“(Paint Green Street Purple) is a win all the way around,” Friedlein said. Friedlein will have two officers at the event, but his main concern is traffic. “We’ve never had a recorded incident at the event,” he said.

Last year, the unique combination of awareness and activity attracted 500 attendants. The subsequent Relay for Life 2006 had over 4,000 participants and raised over $205,000.

“Almost everybody has been affected by cancer in some form,” said Zeman.