From Friday at 3 p.m. to Saturday at 3 p.m., Alpha Phi Omega hosted its annual Run-a-Thon on the Turner Track. Over the 24-hour time period, at least one runner was on the track every hour from dusk until dawn.
Of course, an event of this magnitude takes a great deal of careful planning.
Sophomore and APO president Celinda Davis described the process, which is lengthy. It begins with the selection of a charity and then soliciting donations for the raffle from local businesses, like Jimmy John’s and Baked. Then members have to coordinate with Dean of Students Deb Southern and the Athletic Department. There are numerous meetings at which planning takes place. All in all, it takes two terms and all of APO’s 84 members, each of whom commits to a shift during the course of the event.
“We’re not a social fraternity, but are a service fraternity and we’re also co-ed,” freshman and APO member Lissa Mann said. This makes APO very different than the other Greek organizations on campus.
Mann walked the track Friday afternoon.
“Run-a-Thon is kind of our yearly event. We’ve been doing it since our founding, so over a 20 year period there were only a couple of years where we didn’t do it. So it’s kind of something we’ve done before, it’s a routine,” Davis said.
Every year when APO hosts Run-a-Thon, the fraternity selects a local organization to support through proceeds from the event. This year, the Knox County Humane Society was chosen.
“The fact that we were able to bring dogs to campus really got people excited. And it’s really hard to say no to the Humane Society,” Mann said.
As part of APO’s efforts to increase turnout for the event, the Humane Society brought some of the animals available for adoption from the shelter to the event.
“We’re always willing to accept a donation and come out for the events as well,” Galesburg resident and Humane Society volunteer Vicky Sullivan said. “We want to come out here and help educate people. Support the community and even the college.”
Other Humane Society volunteers shared this sentiment.
“Every donation, every little bit helps,” Humane Society volunteer and Galesburg resident Chris King said. “It’ll probably go to many different things, like medical costs. We don’t have a volunteer who comes in for spay and neuters, so every vet bill costs us money. With food and care, there’s a ton of cost into everything we do.”
The animals served as an attraction to many walking or running the track, such as freshman Claire Vaughn.
“I love animals and I’ve been to the Humane Society a couple of times. A friend of mine also is a member. The puppies are half of the motivation for me to be here,” Vaughn said.
“Our goals are leadership, friendship and service, and by doing Run-a-Thon the way we do it, we’re really able to see all three of those qualities. It’s been a rewarding process for everyone I think,” Mann said.