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ASU’s second annual "Color Run" is a success

By Amber Case
On May 12, 2015

Sophomores Bernadette Hogan, Rosemarie Vigneron, Kinlin O'brien, and Kelly Bischoff pose riverside after completing the run.
Photo courtesy of Bernadette Hogan

If you saw anyone covered from head to toe in blue this past Saturday, chances are that they were coming back from Autism Speaks Us second annual Color Run. As the 350 participants from Marist and the Poughkeepsie community crossed the finish line in this years run, they were greeted with a cloud of blue powder, the official color of Autism Awareness Month. 

Autism Speaks U is a program designed by the Autism Speaks organization that allows students to get involved in raising awareness for the disorder. The first school to adopt the program was Penn State in 2006. 

The Marist chapter of ASU officially began holding meetings in spring 2014. Their first Color Run was held that same semester. The event was a huge success, raising $21,000. The 2015 run was almost equally successful in terms of fundraising, earning $18,200 for autism. In regards to how smoothly the event was executed, president and founder of the Marist chapter, Kaity Meagher, said the second time around takes the cake.

Tons of small things went wrong last year which we learned from and corrected this year, Meagher explained. We also made sure our event was bigger and better by making changes such as adding more powder stations during the run, getting more powder and including tee-shirts for all runners paid within the registration fee.

The planning of such a huge event takes a lot of time and effort. Meagher and her executive board communicated frequently about the route of the run, contacted security to guide runners along the route and ensure their safety and organized volunteer committees.  

The color runs route began at the riverfront. Participants were coated in blue powder at the starting line, then ran up to Fontaine, past Lowell Thomas, up to Jazzmans Cafe and around the green area. Then the runners retraced their steps back down to the river for a total distance of about three miles. About halfway through the race, there were volunteers by Jazzmans throwing blue powder at the runners passing by. Four more people awaited at the finish line for one final burst of color. 

It was my first color run and I had no idea what to expect, junior Kathleen OBrien said. It was a great experience and it was worth three days of being blue to support the cause.

The ASU board did not record a winner of the run or keep track of the placement of any participants. The purpose of the second installment of this run on the Marist campus was to promote awareness of autism, a developmental disorder that affects one in every 68 individuals worldwide. 

This is the time to educate, advocate and raise awareness for these individuals around us, Meagher said. Especially at the collegiate level, we need to be informed. We are the ones who are going to go out into the world and change it after we graduate, so to educate college students now about this cause is crucial.

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