While perusing last Friday’s issue of Pipe Dream, I found a story below the fold that beckoned me. Oddly enough, the words “undie run” were in the headline. I read on for some clarification and recalled that I had heard about it in previous weeks through an invite on Facebook.
When I initially received the invite, I thought it was a joke, a prank or something of the sort. I replied with either a “maybe” or a “no” and didn’t put any more thought into it. Momentum slowly built over the subsequent weeks and the day or so before the run was to be held, a friend was asking around for spare clothes that he could donate for the run. Clearly, this was something to be taken seriously.
But how can something seemingly immature and sophomoric be taken so seriously? According to a quote from Student Association Vice President for Programming Catherine Cornell, past Homecomings were notoriously lame and the SA wanted to inject something different, fun and spontaneous into the festivities. Yes, Ms. Cornell, the SA hosting a large group of students running around part of campus in their undergarments is very different.
It might be fun for some, but potentially embarrassing for others who aren’t fully comfortable with bearing in public most of what they keep hidden on a regular basis, but want to break out of their comfort zone. But calling the event spontaneous? The planning for the run must’ve been in the works for at least the last month, if not a little longer, as the Facebook invites went out around mid-month, if memory serves me.
Apart from the semantics, there was mild media coverage: Pipe Dream was on hand to photograph the run. Here, we come to a question of ethics: is it proper to photograph people stripping down to their underwear who proceed to run from the center of campus down to the tailgating area? In my mind, it’s not entirely ethical.
Furthermore, what would happen if these photographs were to end up somewhere online? Potential job hunts could take a turn for the worse if interviewers dug around before the interview and found a picture of their prospective candidate running around in nothing but a pair of smiley-faced boxers, socks and sneakers.
Additionally, there is the question of why the SA would endorse, support and promote such a foolish event. I honestly would expect to read about something similar in Police Watch or maybe hear about it in passing from a fraternity or sorority rusher. But then again, the Student Association did shell out a heaping helping of cash for an overly tanned celebrity partygoer to speak, answer questions and give lessons on how to fist pump last fall semester.
The final question about the whole event is how redeeming the run actually was. Yes, the removed clothing and stored food items would be donated to the Salvation Army and CHOW, respectively. Though, taking into consideration the respective pro and cons of the run, donating clothing and food doesn’t seem to fully outweigh the stigma associated with running around in underwear.
Perhaps a fully costumed run would’ve been more appropriate, as Halloween is nearing. However, it doesn’t look promising for future years, as this was billed as the “First Annual Undie Run.”