Community members donate clothes during semiannual ‘Undie Run’


By Olivia Willoughby

Off with their pants!

The semiannual Undie Run started at 9:30 p.m. Friday at Welsh Park on the corner of Russell Road and Crane Drive. Participants stripped down to their underpants and tossed their clothes in a pile that would later be sent to Goodwill.

Two years ago, Kimberly Foster, senior secondary education major, and Jim Hotwagner, senior manufacturing engineering major, decided to start their own undie run after hearing about a similar event at Arizona State University.

“This isn’t a student organization,” Foster said. “It’s just us doing our own thing. We thought it’d be a fun thing to do.”

The night turned out to be chillier than expected; Foster said it was a “brisk run.” She and Hotwagner have hosted the Undie Run twice each year, in the spring and fall, since they started. Foster said last fall’s undie run was much warmer.

“Who would have thought the end of February would have been better?” Foster said. “We did this back in the fall and we had quite a few people.”

Before their run, students pulled off their clothes and chanted about NIU and America. They sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and bolted into the darkness.

The Undie Run took the students from the pavilion at Welsh Park through Greek Row and back in a little under 10 minutes.

“We just ran through Greek Row, and we had everybody hanging out their windows and coming out to give us high fives,” Hotwagner said. “We usually have an audience, and it was super fun.”

Attendees have various reasons for participating in the Undie Run, but many of them said they were happy to help others out.

“It helps out a charity,” said Taylor Scott, sophomore mechanical engineering major. “This is my second one. I decided to start in the fall, and I knew I’d come and do every one after that.”

Some participants said they agreed that, while it was fun, they were glad it was for a worthy cause.

“It’s good to help clothe homeless people,” said Justin Harris, junior math education major. “And it’s fun to run with everyone and just give back.”

Despite Friday’s low turnout, Foster said the event went well. She said she hopes turnout for the next run will be larger and there will be warmer weather.

“I’ve never seen a group of people more genuine,” she said. “They came in all shapes and sizes. There were no snarky remarks, and that’s what I love.”

Hotwagner said although the clothes did not match up to last semester’s pile, a good amount of clothing was still donated.