Stony Brook University students celebrate winning a heat at Roth Regatta on April 29, 2016. ERIC SCHMID/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook University students celebrate winning a heat at Roth Regatta on April 29, 2016. Roth Regatta, along with events such as Brookfest and Seawolves Showcase, is a tradition that brings the campus community together. ERIC SCHMID/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook University was named the winner of the National Association for Campus Activities’ (NACA) 2017 “Your Best Campus Tradition” video competition, in honor of its annual Roth Regatta event. As a reward, the university will be awarded $1,000 to use toward the tradition, a plaque to commemorate the victory and an opportunity to submit an article to the Campus Activities Programming® magazine.

The monetary award will be used to help the event run more smoothly in terms of efficiency, the number of participants, food costs and keepsake expenses.

“From Dolphy Day at Le Moyne to Dragon Day at Cornell, every campus has its own tradition, but I don’t know an event quite like students racing across a pond in cardboard boats just because,” Patrick Smith, sophomore political science major, said. Smith serves as the assistant to the vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government.

In addition to the prizes, three university representatives will receive complimentary registration to the 2018 NACA® Convention, where they will present the history, purpose and value of the Roth Regatta tradition. This year, a twist in the video competition voting process served to encourage an increased votership – people could now vote during the conference and through an online kiosk.

Typically, 2,000 representatives – mostly consisting of professional staff members who work in student activities – attend the national conference. Director of Marketing and Communications for NACA, Penny Cothran, said that Stony Brook came out on top in this year’s elections.

“People liked what they saw,” Cothran said. “It was a crowd favorite.”

What makes Roth Regatta special is its uniqueness and ability to bring together all parts of the campus community.

“I think there is a lot to enjoy about Roth Regatta – the creativity, the engineering, the planning, the competitiveness,” Jeffrey Barnett, interim associate dean of students, said. “It was student-generated and supported. The best college traditions always are.” He said that the tradition allows students and faculty to share an experience that is both fun and memorable. “I don’t think the value of community is to be underestimated here.”

Even if a school wins, it can continue entering its tradition into the competition. Some schools compete to defend their titles. Over the next few years, Stony Brook will continue entering, possibly featuring the likes of the Seawolves Showcase, the Festival of Lights, Wolfieland, Brookfest, Earthstock and Creative Explosion.