The Pride of Stony Brook was on display at the 8th Annual Dragon Boat Racing Festival in Port Jefferson Village on Saturday September 17th. At the day-long event, held at Harborfront Park, nearly two dozen teams competed for bragging rights.
This year’s race marked the first time Stony Brook had two teams — Stony stream university sea wolves and Steinbach medicine — Participation in the festival. More than 40 undergraduate and graduate students, medical and dental students, staff, and physicians and health care professionals from Stony Brook University Hospital served on the teams and competed in three heats against teams from across Long Island and New York City. It takes 20 people plus a drummer to paddle a dragon boat.
For the first time in seven years, the Seawolves team took home a gold medal in the “C Division” with a burst of energy and determination to win. Despite very tough competition and in their first year of paddling, the Medicine Team won a bronze medal in the “B Division”. Cheryl Chambers, Associate Dean of Studies and Director of Multicultural Affairs, along with Judy Jaquez, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs, led the Seawolves team. Erika Karp, community relations representative for Stony Brook University Hospital, led the medical team.
“Our students, faculty and staff enjoy the camaraderie with the participating racing teams and the opportunity to learn about Asian culture during the festival,” Chambers said. “We are grateful to the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for making this event possible.”
In addition to the races, Stony Brook participants had ample opportunities to network and learn about each other’s work. The teams enjoyed cultural entertainment including performances by Taiko Tides, a traditional Japanese drum group from Stony Brook University. Food trucks lined the entrance, and local community businesses offered information and freebies at their tables.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet other members of the SBU community,” said Katherine Hackett, a fellow at the School of Health Professions’ occupational therapy program.
Hackett was co-captain of the Stony Brook Medicine team with Antoine Chiu, a first-year medical student at the Renaissance School of Medicine. While paddling experience is not required, Hackett and Chiu are skilled paddlers and have helped guide their team members on the water. Chiu was even a member of the US national team.
Sam Tran, a sophomore psychology student on the Seawolves team, said she decided to participate because she used to enjoy kayaking with her family. However, it was her first time paddling in such a competition.
“The whole festival – it was a lot of fun,” said Tran.
Lorane Crawford, an administrative assistant in the Renaissance School of Medicine’s Office of Finance and Administration on the medical team, echoed Trans’ views.
“It’s just good to be outside and enjoy the atmosphere,” Crawford said.
Stony Brook’s participation in the Dragon Boat Racing Festival was sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of University-Hospital Relations and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The festival is organized by the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commercewhich includes Stony Brook University and Stony Brook University Hospital.
– Erika Karp