Bright and early Sunday morning, a crowd of people braved the chilly weather to participate in Kappa Alpha Theta’s 17th annual WildKAT Chase 5k marathon. Close to 360 people gathered at the Bosco Student Plaza to participate, and an additional 400 people ordered WildKAT Chase t-shirts online. The proceeds from the 5k, the K-State Delta Eta chapter’s main fundraising event, went entirely to the Sunflower CASA Project.
CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, is a national association that recruits and trains volunteers to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom, as well as other settings. Nationally, CASA is in association with nearly 1,000 programs across the country, including the Sunflower CASA Project – the local chapter for Clay, Riley and Pottawatomie counties. CASA is the national philanthropy for the Theta sorority.
Kara Veith, senior in chemical engineering and the WildKAT Chase 5k coordinator for Theta, said she is very proud of the work that her sorority does for CASA.
“We raise over $10,000 a year, which is awesome because we are the largest single supporter of the local chapter,” Veith said.
The 5k began around 9 a.m. on Sunday at Bosco Plaza, and made its way around campus before completing the loop back at the K-State Student Union. At the finish line, 120 Theta women handed out water and granola bars to the finishers, a new addition to the 17-year-old tradition.
For some participants, the WildKAT Chase was much more than just a way to donate to a good cause, but also a way to build friendships. Gretchen Stone, freshman in biology, and Samantha Krause, a freshman in human nutrition, were happy to be participating in the event.
“We randomly decided to come last night,” Krause said. “She said that there was a 5k going on and we decided we should do it.”
Stone, Krause’s convincer, let her anticipation of the event seep into her friend.
“It’s her first 5k, so we are really excited,” Stone said.
Both women are new members in the Pi Beta Phi sorority, and said they were excited to have the event not only count as service hours towards themselves, but a way to support their fellow greek members.
“We have philanthropies too and we want people to come to ours, so we come to theirs to show them our support,” Stone said.
The women Theta have been working hard since the beginning of the year to show their support to CASA. During the sorority’s recruitment week they stuffed teddy bears for the children that CASA helps. Alannah Henry, junior in criminology, said she is interested in being a CASA volunteer some day.
“When those kids come from a broken home, they are vulnerable,” Henry said. “Having someone there to support them and to give them a voice is a beautiful thing.”