Students strip for a cause

By David Matz

“Strip down and run.”

Six students laughed around a table on the second floor of the Holmes Student Center Tuesday night. “Come on, it’s for a good cause,” the group continued as they came up with more alluding advertisement slogans for the Second Annual DeKalb Undie Run.

The DeKalb Undie Run is an unofficial event with no support from the university, city or any other organization. It is organized by Thomas Conlon, senior communications and media studies major, and six other dedicated students, who are funding the small cost of organizing the event themselves.

Those interested in participating should be prepared to strip down to their underwear and run, jog or walk a mile-long course, Conlon said. The clothes will be collected and donated to local charities by the organizers.

“It’s something fun to do in DeKalb during the weekday,” said Breanna Stewart, senior nursing major and an organizer for the event. During the 45-minute planning meeting, it became clear that the group’s motivation for holding the event is to bring the students and community together for a good and fun cause.

Last year the First Annual DeKalb Undie Run was organized by a group of students who experienced a large turnout and collected about 17 trash bags of clothes, Conlon said.

“They kind of passed it on to me,” he said. “I received over 100 messages on Facebook asking when the next one is going to happen.”

The run is scheduled for Thursday at 9 p.m. at the Welsh Park Pavilion on Russell Road. The stripping, donating and run will start at 9:30 p.m. There is no registration or petition to sign; interested parties need only show up wearing clothes ready for donation and get ready to strip down to undergarments and run the course.

“In a suitcase college, it’s hard to find free and fun events during the week,” Conlon said. “This is something fun to do and can build school spirit if enough people participate.”

None of the organizers for the event are sure where the original idea came from. Conlon said he has heard about undie runs on other college campuses across the country, but doesn’t know where or when the first one started.

“We really wanted to start a DeKalb chapter,” he said. “We really want this to be an annual event.”

Conlon and the other organizers also said there will be video and cameras at the event, so participants who don’t want their face shown should wear a mask. They also warn that traffic will not be blocked so participants should stay on the sidewalk at all times during the run. A final warning by organizers is to empty all the pockets before donating their clothes.

“It’s a great way to meet friends,” said Kimberly Foster, sophomore English and secondary education major. “Running in your underwear together is a great icebreaker.”

Foster participated last year in the event and decided to jump on the opportunity to help organize it this year.