A forecast of rain last weekend did little to dampen student and faculty involvement in Alpha Phi Omega’s (APO) annual Run-A-Thon, a 24-hour event to benefit the Knox County Child Advocacy Center (CAC).
From 2 p.m. on Friday, May 20 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, members of the Knox community circled the track in the T. Fleming Fieldhouse, chatting with friends and enjoying entertainment provided by Union Board, the Improv Club and students during Saturday’s open mic.
“I’m glad that there was a great turnout for participants,” freshman and APO member Alyssa Gill said. “The committee worked very hard to put it all together so it’s good to see their work pay off.”
“I feel there were a lot of people from different social groups, from different clubs or who were not part of a club at all,” sophomore and Run-A-Thon co-chair Laura Thompson added.
One of Thompson’s favorite parts of the event was when faculty members and their children walked together.
“In the future, I want to make [Run-A-Thon] more open to faculty and the community,” Thompson said.
Participants in Run-A-Thon either paid $10 to sign up or pledged a certain amount of money per lap. All proceeds went to the CAC, which works with children who have been sexually or physically abused. Recently, the CAC had their funding cut, increasing the need for outside donations.
“People in [APO] brought it up, and it was unanimous that we wanted to support them,” Thompson said.
In addition to working one-on-one with child victims, the CAC also provides legal support for children and workshops within the community, including how to recognize inappropriate touching.
Money is still trickling in, but Thompson estimates that Run-A-Thon raised about $1,000, an impressive number for an event only in its second consecutive year. Run-A-Thon has been held more regularly in the past but stopped for several years in the mid-2000s.
“I feel like APO is known for things like the blood drives and the book co-op, but APO used to be known for Run-A-Thon,” Thompson said.
Last year, thanks to the efforts of APO members then-juniors Chloe Bohm and Jackie Stillmaker, the organization was able to hold Run-A-Thon again. Given the event’s design, Thompson does not see it disappearing any time soon.
“It’s really just an hour of your time, but you can stop by for more,” she said. “It’s a really easy way to do community service.”
Sophomore and APO president Amanda Lee agreed.
“Run-A-Thon was amazingly fun, even at 3 a.m.,” she said.