In the crisp air on Saturday morning, Jan. 29, over 100 members of APU’s RezLife staff were busily setting up their space-themed stations for this year’s annual charity 5K run.
Dubbed the OuterSpace Race, the event featured a black hole in Munson Chapel and a jedi-themed station in the Mods.
The race was the brainchild of a detailed planning committee, including Village East residence director Victoria Volpei as chair; residence directors Scott Kolmer, Diana Kim, Casey Hawes; and assistant residence directors Leah Sadoian and Olivia James.
“We started meeting around September or October just to start getting ideas down, and vision-casting for the event,” said Sadoian, assistant residence director in University Park.
That vision-casting included everything from general layout to the selection of the partner charities. Because this is a fundraising event, that step was particularly important and involved the committee members’ input and a significant amount of research.
“The RD committee prayed and discussed which charities would receive the funds from the race months before. Ride for Water and Back on My Feet were the two we felt our students would connect with best and had a tangible need our students could meet,” Volpei said.
Both organizations not only feature APU students, they also seek to promote health and wellness through regular fitness activity.
Back on My Feet functions as a running ministry for the homeless in Los Angeles, and Ride for Water seeks to raise money for clean water while participating in the strenuous feat of biking from coast to coast.
On race day, members of the Ride for Water teams could be found weaving their way through the throngs of runners, shouting encouragement and even offering the occasional high five.
The 5K committee also featured a panel of RAs who, in collaboration with the RDs, came up with the OuterSpace theme for race day. While the task of putting together an entire charity race was a huge undertaking, committee members still managed to make it a fun, light-hearted process.
“It was a blast to be a part of the planning and fundraising and even more of a blast on race day. Everything came together cleanly, and everyone had a great time,” said Seth Johnson, a senior biology major and residence advisor in University Park.
As far as the obstacles go, each living area put on its own show, mixing and matching elements of space with its own creative injections.
One of the stations, situated behind Engstrom, encouraged willing participants to run backwards, mimicking the famous “moonwalk” while Michael Jackson favorites blasted in the background.
Over 200 runners jogged their way through a space-themed obstacle course on the morning of the race, some wearing the black and gold T- shirts they recieved upon registering, while others wore a slightly different costume.
The successful race ended with a health fair, where students could receive information about eating healthy on campus, as well as get acquainted with helpful sites in the Azusa area dedicated to a healthy lifestyle.
The OuterSpace Race was just the first in a long line of RezLife events on deck for this semester, each one with its own theme, location and unique set of activities.