On Friday night, about a thousand Vols will skip the traditional trip to Rumorz for a more charitable use of their money.

"Relay for Life" will put that money toward cancer research and support.

The 10th installment of UT's "Relay for Life" begins at 6 p.m. tonight and ends around dawn at 6 a.m.

"The goal of having it overnight is ... the metaphor of cancer patients fighting against cancer, being at night, with the dark, and then it ends with the sunrise," said Drew Nash, a junior in computer science and the president of "Relay for Life" at UT.

Nash explained that participants are encouraged to walk around the track during the event to symbolize cancer patients' struggle against the disease. There will always be at least one person walking around Circle Park. If cancer never sleeps, the logic goes, then neither will the volunteers fighting it.

"It's just a way to get people pumped up about the event and give them something to do overnight, and also just reflect on the fact that cancer is prevalent in the world," Nash said.

There are 45 different teams signed up for this year's relay, and Nash estimated around 30 will set up booths. The overall theme is movies, so each team is encouraged to represent their theme in their booth, attire and fundraising efforts.

Last year, the UT relay raised just shy of $65,000, the highest total in the Southeastern Conference, according to Nash. As of Wednesday night, this year's UT relay had reached $50,000, trailing Auburn University's total of $62,000.

Throughout the night, various teams will sell foods and run games to help boost the charitable effort. Zach Luze, senior in finance and the project director for Student Alumni Associates, said the SAA booth will employ a Disney theme.

"We're going to have what we call a 'Disney lock-up': another group can pay to have one of their members or someone at Relay locked away in a roped off area," Luze laughed. "And they either have to pay money or sing a Disney song to get out."

Luze attended the event last year and marveled at the range of student organizations that participated.

"You ... get to see, right there, this entire portfolio of UT organizations ... their unique personality and how they raise funds," he said. "And at the end of the day, it's for a great cause; it's for helping to cure cancer and helping survivors."
For all the fundraising, the event begins with a display of tenacity known as the "Survivor Lap," in which all those who have fought and defeated cancer take to the track. Around sundown, there will also be a luminaria ceremony that allows people a chance to buy a paper bag and candle, and light it in memory of someone who has passed away or is still fighting.

"That's the solemn moment of the night," Nash said. "Then we continue to do fun activities."

For more information on "Relay for Life" at UT, visit relayutk.org