A smashing good time

Car Club’s fundraiser revs up over $300 for breast cancer research

David Matos and Krystal Miller

Beating a car with a sledgehammer is one way to spend your Wednesday afternoon.

The Car Club held its fourth Car Smash event on Oct. 13, in the Hill circle lot. Students and faculty looking for an exciting way to de-stress paid $3 to hit a ruined Honda five times or $5 to hit it 10 times.

This year’s event raised about $350 in cash and Venmo donations. Half of the proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and the remainder of the money funds go to the next Car Smash.

“You can bring anybody to a baseball game, and they’ll have fun,” Zak Polak, the president of the Car Club, said. “But you can also give anyone an opportunity to smash a car and they’ll have fun. So that was why we thought that bringing a wrecked car somewhere on campus and letting people smash it and raise money would be a good idea.”

Stress and anger relief is not the only benefit attendees get by hitting the car. It’s also a bonding experience that “brings people together,” Polak said.

There were no restrictions on how or where to hit the car, and the Car Club provided tools and safety equipment such as sledgehammers and safety goggles for participants.

“Be safe, watch your surroundings and make sure no one’s around you, but when it comes to where you want to aim there are no rules,” said John Marquardt, Car Club’s head of social media.

Participants were allowed to keep whatever car parts they broke off the vehicle as a souvenir.

“We let them keep some of the parts,” Polak said. “Like if they want to take the Honda logo off they can get that. That’s a reminder of that one time they helped raise money for breast cancer.”

Former Car Club president Caroline Ringle came up with the concept of starting a Car Smash charity event for breast cancer research in 2016.

Jessica Matson, a first-year microbiology and immunology major, recently joined the Car Club and has had an overall positive experience.

“All these guys are really fun to be around, and it’s for a good cause,” Matson said. “My aunt actually recently died of breast cancer so it’s a topic that is pretty important to me, so I love being here.”

The Car Smash was effective for students trying to take a break from midterms and release the pressure from the work they have been doing the past few weeks. It was welcoming to all students who want to get in on the action.

“It just helps people get that midterm anger out in a fun way,” Marquardt said.

The car smashing brought new students to join in on the excitement and discover more about events on campus.

“I just took a test, so I felt like I should get some anger out,” Sophia Stamos, a first-year entry-level masters physician assistant student said.

The Car Club plans to carry on the tradition of the car smash, and if the club doesn’t need the portion of the money in the future they will donate it entirely to breast cancer research.

The fundraiser was originally located in the North Lot but due to a significant lack of foot traffic, the Car Club received permission from Leah Richards, the facilities events coordinator, to relocate to the Hill circle. Only about 20 to 30 people participated the first year, but after the move, around 120 people engaged in the gratifying activity. It solidified the Hill circle as the event’s new home.

“You don’t typically get to smash cars for fun in other clubs,” Matson said. “I would say, it’s like ‘oh let’s watch this presentation,’ like ‘no, let’s smash a car (because) why not?’”