First ESS charity event since the pandemic raises funds for UVic United Way campaign
The Engineering Students’ Society (ESS) runs the annual Bug Push — a student-led charity event — to raise funds for the UVic United Way campaign. During the event, teams of three to five people push a hollowed-out 1972 Volkswagen Beetle around the 2.2-kilometre-long Ring Road.
On Sunday, July 11, teams pushed the Bug around the ring as many times as possible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., starting at the rainbow crosswalk in front of the Student Union Building. For every $50 donated to the event, teams pushed for an additional 30 minutes.
The goal was to keep the Bug rolling for 12 hours straight. The ESS provided drinks and snacks for participants before and after their big push. A total of 14 teams registered in the event this year and were scheduled to push the Bug for 30 minutes each.
“Normally, it takes about 15 minutes to go around Ring Road. So, some of the teams can get [the Bug] around twice if they’re speedy,” Jessica Hubbs, ESS President, told CHEK news.
The first team started at 7 a.m. and recorded a lap time of 16 minutes and 8 seconds. Later in the day, UVic Rocketry and Vikes WROW teams had increasingly faster lap times with 11 minutes and 6 seconds and 10 minutes and 0 seconds, respectively. Of all the teams, Laidlaw’s Sweater had the fastest lap time of 7 minutes and 43 seconds.
There were prizes for the groups that pushed the fastest and the farthest. The μshroom Kingdom team was awarded best-dressed for their Mario Kart costumes.
Some teams helped give the fundraiser an extra push before the event by donating $40 when registering. ESS Vice President External Abdul Abuelazm noted that the teams’ contributions surpassed the initial donation goal of $300.
“We’re sending it all over social media, and we’re hoping to get people donating in the next week. After that, we tally all that up and write a cheque for United Way,” said Abuelazm.
The ESS accepted online donations until the following Sunday. By then, $645 was raised for the United Way of Greater Victoria.
People passing by the UVic campus were welcomed to join the festivities. They cheered on teams while enjoying some snacks and music. One of the sponsors of the event, Campus Nissan, provided a pace car for the Bug Push. People could hop in the Nissan Leaf to drive behind and watch the teams push.
In previous years, the Bug Push has raised over $1 000 for charity. This was the first in-person charity event held by the ESS after the annual Bug Push was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
While this annual summer event supports United Way, the ESS also raises funds for the Vancouver Island Children’s Health Foundation in the spring. This coming fall, the ESS hopes to continue the momentum from their Bug Push event.
“Donating to [United Way of Greater Victoria] for the Bug Push event has been a tradition of the ESS,” commented Hubbs. “We always look to help support the local community.”