Runners participate in 5K, benefit Boys and Girls Club

Runners and volunteers from Acacia Fraternity and ZTA Sorority take part in the "Color Explosion" after all participants had finished the Color Dash on April. 30, 2016 (Shelton Burch | The Collegian)

Members of Acacia fraternity and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority gathered together Saturday morning to host the second annual Color Dash to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan.

“This is the second year that we’ve hosted this philanthropy, and today was just as fun as it was last year,” Brice Valdez, Acacia philanthropy chair and freshman in kinesiology, said. “It’s so much fun to reach out to the permanent residents of Manhattan and have them participate in a great cause.”

This year, the Color Dash attracted 50 runners to participate in the 5K race. While they had originally hoped to surpass the number of runners from last year, Valdez said they were still excited to be able to enjoy the weather and the company of the community.

“I love that Acacia reached out and asked us to help them put on the Color Dash,” Zeta member Piper Fowler, freshman in accounting, said. “It really is a great way to get to know more people that live in the area and the money earned goes to a local chapter of the Boys and Girls Club.”

Hunter Oeltjenbruns, race director and full-time Color Dash employee, said the 5K was created four years ago with philanthropy in mind.

“Fifty percent of all profits made on each run get donated to a local charity chosen by the members that organize the event,” Oeltjenbruns said. “That is the aspect of this run that separates it from the rest — charity is at the heart of our work.”

Sarah Voehl, another Color Dash employee, started working with the 5K this past month and said her favorite event was one recently held in Ohio.

“We were in Canfield, Ohio, and over 600 people showed up to participate in the run,” Voehl said. “That day we were able to give back $10,000 to a Sexual Assault Awareness campaign.”

This year, Acacia and Zeta Tau Alpha donated $1,380 to the Manhattan chapter of the Boys and Girls Club with the profits they made from the Color Dash 5K.

According to Valdez, the men of Acacia are currently unsure whether or not they will hold the Color Dash again next year, but said they hope to.

“I would love for them to hold the event next year,” Acacia member Drew Surface, freshman in English, said. “This was my first time running the Color Dash, but I think it’s a fun way to raise money for a good cause. Plus the more years they put it on, the more people will hear about it and want to participate.”

As the last few runners crossed the finish line, the music shot up in volume and buckets of colored powder were thrown into the air celebrating the end of the run. The runners danced around and threw the powder at one another as they cheered.

“My favorite part has to be crossing the finish
line,” Margarita Tipas, junior in athletic training, said. “The explosion
of colors and music made everything worth it. It was a great way to celebrate
finishing the 5K and donating to a great cause.”