Every year, armed with USG-provided paddles, old life vests and determination, Stony Brook students brave the algae-infested waters of Roth pond, racing cardboard boats held together by duct tape and hope.
The 33rd annual Roth Regatta took place on Friday, April 29, with the theme “Sands of Time.” Boats ranged in theme from Noah’s Ark to the Titanic, with multiple magic school buses, a Shrek-themed boat and even an army-style tank manned by ROTC students.
This year’s event was held in-person for the first time since 2019. President Maurie McInnis, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Ric McClendon and Vice President of Student Affairs Rick Gatteau started the event by sounding the opening horn and wishing all the teams good luck.
This year, 68 boats were registered to compete, with 19 heats in two categories: speedsters with two rowers and yachts with four rowers.
James Hall, nicknamed Jazzy James, designed their boat like a pirate ship with a painting of Wolfie emblazoned on its sail. They took home the top prize for the speedster category, with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association winning the Yacht finals. Irving Hall was designated the most spirited team.
“Winning Roth Regatta meant a lot to the whole team, because we worked very hard on our boat for many nights, staying up until three or four in the morning to build it,” Cameron Scheurich, a freshman majoring in marine vertebrate biology and the team captain for James, said. “Seeing all of our hard work and efforts pay off was a very nice thing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone who helped build the boat, design the boat and who were at the event, cheering us on.”
The 200-yard Roth pond was surrounded by hundreds of students and members of the Stony Brook community. The event had music, free food and prizes and was live streamed on YouTube and Facebook by the School of Communication and Journalism and the Stony Brook Media Group.
In order to prepare for such a large-scale event, there were many meetings and conversations with campus partners, off campus vendors and staff.
According to Dylan Rehman, a senior business management major and USG senator who co-chaired the 33rd annual Roth Regatta, planning the event involved a collaborative creative process.
“From polls to discussions to everything in-between, we had a lot of design talks about how to do the event justice,” Rehman said. “We chose the theme Sands of Time to try and give students their own creative freedom with what kind of boats they wanted to build. Working with campus vendors and management, we were able to map out the pond and bring our vision to life.”
Evan Moy, a freshman mechanical engineering major, was involved in building the boat for Greeley Hall. Greeley came second in their heat but failed to advance to the semifinals. Despite not winning, Moy had a great experience.
“The event itself was very fun to watch,” Moy said. “Though we did not win our race, it’s fair to say that we felt like we accomplished our own victory with our boat completing the race. That feeling is something that other students should seek to experience. The camaraderie and enjoyment that I witnessed at the event, even from those whose boat sank, is an experience I won’t forget.”
According to Rehman, Roth Regatta is unique from other campus events such as Brookfest and Light the Brook because it is given life by the student body. Without the 68 boats that registered to compete and the creativity of the students involved, the event would not have been able to happen.
“I hope students who attend the Regatta will be able to truly grasp not only how much fun there is to be had at Stony Brook University, but how much power we have as students,” Rehman said. “This event and a lot of these decisions were made by students, and I welcome everyone to take the initiative to get involved and really be the wind beneath the wings of campus life.”