RIT students and faculty put in the ‘Tiger Cage’ for charity

Student Spotlight
Mary Warner, sustainable engineering graduate student
Sara Bjork, industrial and systems engineering and engineering management graduate student

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Derrick Hunt

Lizzy Warner, left, and Sara Bjork at the Tigers for Tigers donation table in the SAU.

Mary “Lizzy” Warner, a sustainable engineering graduate student from Champaign, Ill., and Sara Bjork, a industrial and systems engineering and engineering management graduate student from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., are members of a class project called Tigers for Tigers. The group is working to raise money and awareness to help save tigers through their “Tiger Cage” and “Tiger Crawl” charity events. For the “Tiger Cage” event, RIT students and faculty will be put in a cage from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the Student Alumni Union lobby. The “Tiger Crawl” bar crawl is open to anyone 21 and over and starts downtown at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Prepps.

Question: What brought you to RIT?
Lizzy: I got my undergraduate degree in environmental science and mathematics from Knox College in Illinois. They didn’t have engineering, so I really wanted to come to RIT because there’s a much higher emphasis on that here and there are a lot of resources available.
Sara: I came to RIT because I really wanted to study industrial engineering. It was the right distance from home—far but not too far—and I also wanted to play tennis. The co-op program was a big draw as well.

Q: Why did you choose your major?
Sara: I chose industrial engineering because I love efficiency and organization and it’s a major that includes both of those things. It just fits my personality.
Lizzy: I’m interested in doing environmental work and this was a program that was able to incorporate that. It’s very unique, there aren’t many other programs like it.

Q: What is Tigers for Tigers?
Lizzy: We put this group together as part of project for a class. Our assignment was to raise money for a good cause, so we decided to raise money to help save tigers. We wanted to do something that really impacted students on campus. Our three other members are Katie Baldwin, Matt Partacz and Kelsey McManus.
Sara: There’s also a club on campus called Tiger for Tigers. We’re not affiliated with them and we actually donate to a different charity, the World Wildlife Fund Save Tigers Now campaign.

Q: How does the “Tiger Cage” work?
Lizzy: We’ve been collecting donations all week in the SAU as part of our “Tiger Cage” campaign. You can donate money toward 13 notable people around campus, including RIT administrators, a parking officer, a public safety officer and members of Student Government. If an individual reaches $100, then they will be sentenced to our “Tiger Cage” in the SAU lobby on Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sara: If we hit our total donation goal of $1,500, President Destler agreed to go into the cage as well. Also, if we get $100 toward someone not already on our list, we will personally find them and ask them to get in the cage on Friday.

Q: What happens to the people who get put in the cage?
Lizzy: They all agreed to stay in the cage for 20 minutes. People can also come by on Friday and play minute-to-win-it games against them to keep them in the cage longer.
Sara: You donate a dollar to play and if you win, the person inside the cage has a minute added on to their time. If you lose, they get a minute taken off of their time.

Q: What is the “Tiger Crawl?”
Sara: We are hosting our “Tiger Crawl” event on Monroe Avenue this coming Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. It’s a bar crawl downtown and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the World Wildlife Fund.
Lizzy: It’s open to anyone 21 and over. Wristbands cost $10 and we will be selling them Monday through Wednesday in the SAU. You can also pick them up from the first bar on the crawl. We’ll be starting at Prepps and then going to J.D. Oxford's, Rehab and O’Callaghan’s. All the bars will be offering deals and specials to anyone with a wristband.

Q: Why is saving the tigers important?
Lizzy: There are more RIT freshmen than there are tigers in the wild. It’s a sad fact.

Q: What is one of your favorite memories from RIT?
Lizzy: I got to be Roarie (Ritchie’s white tiger cousin) at Freezefest! That was really cool. I have a lot more respect for people who wear those suits because it was pretty hard and I couldn’t really see. It was great because I was in a ton of people’s pictures and they had no idea.
Sara: School’s been so awesome, but if I had to pick one I’d say my favorite memory was when I got to play doubles (in tennis) with my best friend in the regional tournament and we beat Skidmore. It was a big deal because we always lose to them.

Q: Do you have any advice for other students?
Sara: Getting involved in school spirit activities—concerts, Tiger Den’s, groups on campus, anything really—allows you to meet people you probably wouldn’t otherwise. Having school spirit makes college so much better.
Lizzy: Be positive. It’s so easy in this high-stress environment to start feeling down quickly. It can really help to change your college experience if you are positive toward yourself and other people.