March 26, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 41°F


Sixth-year physical therapy students host “Rub-A-Thon”

In an effort to raise money to fund a closing ceremony at the end of their college career, sixth-year physical therapy students at Ithaca College held a fundraiser on Dec. 11 and Dec. 12.

The fundraiser, called “Rub-A-Thon,” saw sixth-year PT students giving massages to students who signed up beforehand. Madeline Arena, a sixth-year PT student and the organizer of the event, said the fundraiser had a large turn-out, as about 150 people signed up to receive massages.

During the event, students received massages inside curtained booths and listened to relaxing music during their session.

Arena said they asked students who got massages for donations of $5 for every 15 minutes.

“I thought it was a pretty good deal, because it’s like 20 bucks an hour,” Arena said. “You can’t get a massage for that cheap anywhere.”

After the completion of the event, Arena said the fundraiser made $415 in total.

Arena said the purpose of the massages is for stress-relief only, as none of the PT students are licensed physical therapists.

“We’re only students,” she said. “We have taken soft-tissue massage class, but it’s just for relaxation purposes basically.”

Felipe Vasquez, a graduate student, was one of the students who received a massage, which he said lasted about 45 minutes. He said the reason he signed up was his body felt tight beforehand.

“I enjoyed it, it should happen more often,” Vasquez said after his massage.

Sophomore Jada Gooch also attended the Rub-A-Thon. Gooch said she signed up for a massage because the event sounded interesting, especially since she is an occupational therapy major.

“I just wanted to see what they [ the PT students] did, and get professional work done,” she said.

The purpose of the Rub-A-Thon event was to finance a closing ceremony for sixth-year PT students, Arena said. She said while physical therapy students are allowed to walk as doctorate students at commencement in May, the PT program does not end until August. She said the PT students want to have their own ceremony once they have officially graduated.

“It signifies, ‘hey we’re done, we graduated with our doctorate,’” Arena said, “We want a little recognition. Our Physical Therapy department gives us some money but it doesn’t cover all of the cost, so we’re just trying to raise as much money as possible so we can have the big ceremony and invite as many people as we want, because it is a big deal for us.”

The Rub-A-Thon event has happened in the past, Arena said. She said when she was a freshman a similar fundraiser took place. However, she said it has not taken place over the past couple years.

“Now we’ve brought it back, because people enjoy it, and everyone’s stressed about finals,” Arena said.

The timing of the event was intentional, Arena said. She said she thought the event could provide a welcome break from studying for finals.

Arena added that the physical therapy students want to make the Rub-A-Thon a yearly event. She said the sixth-year PT students hope to hold a similar event in the spring.

Evan Popp can be reached at or via Twitter: @evanpopp22