Paddlers jump from their boat during Roth Regatta on Friday, April 27, 2018. Continuing the 31-year-old tradition, this year Roth Regatta will held virtually on May 8 over social media. ANASTASIA KOBUS/STATESMAN FILE

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Stony Brook University’s annual Roth Regatta will now be held virtually. 

Continuing the 31-year-old tradition, Roth Regatta will begin on May 8. The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) will be hosting this event through social media, in collaboration with the Stony Brook Computing Society. 

Committee chairs of the events, Asna Jamal and Kevin Mahon wanted to continue the Regatta, even if it had to be done virtually, in order to boost spirits. “Everyone’s pretty bummed out about the semester being online and all that, so we wanted to give the students something to look forward to,” said Mahon.

 Instead of racing boats to win, teams will now have pictures of their boats shared on USG social media and voted on. 

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Boats can be made out of physically anything including, cardboard, aluminum, or plastic and can be subject to any size each team wants it to be. “Basically what you would do, is that you would design it to the theme,”  Jamal said. This year Roth Regatta’s theme will be Disney+.

Teams have unlimited creative freedom to assemble boats that are not required to float, since they won’t be racing in the water this year. The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences even posted a picture on their Instagram page, of boats being made out of kazoos.

 “We’re letting people be as creative as they want with this. We’re just trying to make sure that the 31st Roth Regatta isn’t like a blank screen honestly,” Jamal said.  

Succeeding a race is based on which boat gets the most votes in a specific heat. The criteria for judging the boats will stay the same as previous years, based on a boat’s “design, appearance, apparent sea-worthiness, and originality.”

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Voting will take place over three days starting May 8. “There will be multiple heats within those three days. Instead of Roth Regatta being the usual one to four, these heats are gonna be lasting a few hours each,” said Jamal.  

Teams will have to send in a picture of their creation, through the google form registration, in order for USG to post on their social media platforms. The Stony Brook Computing Society is also in the works of making a website specifically for voting. Teams can also promote their boat on their own social media platforms. If they’re a club, The e-board can reach out to other members of the club and followers of their social network to vote on it.  

Registration for the event will close on May 7 at 7 p.m.

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