By Abby Hughes
The “Bug Push,” an annual fundraising event led by the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS), raised $7,500 for the SickKids Foundation online amid Ryerson cancelling campus events in light of COVID-19.
On March 13, Ryerson president Mohamed Lachemi announced that the university would be transitioning all in-person classes online and in addition, all campus events would be cancelled or postponed.
The “Bug Push” has stood as an annual tradition for about 15 years for engineering students, staff and faculty to push a Volkswagen Beetle around the Kerr Hall Quad for 24 hours straight.
Since the City of Toronto is advising events of 50 or more to be cancelled and for people to keep a two-metre distance between one another, five or six people pushing a car does not follow the recommendations of social distancing.
Instead of cancelling the fundraiser altogether, the RESS decided to move their initiative to Instagram.
For every share or like of the fundraiser video posted on the RESS Instagram page on Thursday, RESS donated $1 to the SickKids Foundation.
The video was posted at 11 a.m. on Thursday. In just over two hours, the RESS had reached their donation cap of $5,000.
In addition to the $5,000 donated by RESS, personal donations made through the link in RESS’ Instagram bio raised an additional $2,600 and counting.
“In total we’re donating over $7,500 and it’s just awesome to have raised that in 24 hours,” said third-year engineering student Julian Rizhanovsky.
Rizhanovsky is one of this year’s “bug commissioners,” who would typically be responsible for making sure the car’s wiring is sound and that the vehicle is ready to be pushed after a year in storage.
RESS vice-president student life, Jwalit Bharwani, said people were disappointed but understanding when they were told the event wouldn’t be happening this year in the interest of public health.
“But when we released that we were going to do this online campaign there was a huge reception,” he said.
With Ryerson’s faculties and other engineering schools across Canada sharing the post—along with many students—more awareness was brought to the event, according to Bharwani.
“Everyone really looks forward to this event because of the way it’s after midterms,” Bharwani said, adding that the event usually feels like a carnival. “We’re far enough from exams for you to be done with your responsibilities academically so it’s kind of relaxed.”
According to Bharwani, those interested in helping the cause can still make their donations using the link on RESS’ Instagram account.
The link remains open until Monday and can be found on Instagram at @ryersonengineer in the account’s bio.