Despite Funding Challenges for ASU Undie Run, the Show Will Go On
Published: Monday, April 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 19:04
Since its inception in 2008, the Undie Run has become an ASU institution, drawing crowds of up to 15,000 people to run around campus in their underwear.
The underlying mission is two-fold – one to celebrate the end of the school year and, more importantly organizers will argue, to generate food and clothing donations for local charitable organizations.
The Run has faced some challenges this year, including funding the increased costs of security.
We recently chatted with Kayla Frost, the 21-year-old public relations director for the event, to get the details on what’s happening with this year’s event.
College Times: Why did you get involved with Undie Run?
Kayla Frost: I wanted to get involved in more extracurriculars my sophomore year and I heard the ASU Undie Run was looking for a public relations director. I loved the event as a freshman so I said, "What the heck!" and applied. I'm glad I did. I love being a part of a great team and being able to help with one of ASU's biggest events -- for charity!
How does a typical Undie Run event work?
ASU students show up to the event and donate the clothes right off their backs. Then they join thousands of other students for a run in their undies and dance at a huge concert by Arizona Pro DJs. We also have plenty of free goodies from sponsors to give out. It's a fabulous time, and at the end of the night we have literally tons of clothing and food to give to charities.
Some people criticize the event for being about nothing more than getting half-naked and, for some people, drunk. How do you respond to those criticisms?
The event is for charity, but we want to make charity fun. There's nothing wrong with being in your underwear. It might seem a little crazy, but it's a creative and effective way to get people to donate their clothes. We discourage all drugs and alcohol and have police onsite to manage people who are obviously drunk.
Last year, there was a pretty highly publicized fight at the event involving a couple of ASU wrestlers. What steps have organizers taken to reduce the risk of those kinds of things happening?
It's unfortunate the fight happened, but people need to think about it this way: at any other event with 20,000 people, one fight would not make the news. Most students behaved very well. However, this year we've added a lot more security and have been working with ASU administration and the Fire Department to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.
Anything new in store for this year's event?
We've moved locations to Lot 59 North at ASU to accommodate more people. And, we actually started this last year but we're asking people to donate nonperishable food that we'll be donating to St. Mary's Food Bank through a nonprofit called Move for Hunger started by an ASU graduate.
Tell us about the event's financial situation. How did this come to be?
Sponsors have been harder to come by this year. A lot of companies that usually give us money are in restructuring phases and have put a pause on their sponsorships. We also have to raise a lot more money this year due to the added security costs and everything that comes with putting on a bigger event.
How much more money do you have to raise?
Right now we still need $6,000.
What happens if you don't raise the complete total?
If we don't raise it, we'll have to trim costs by cutting down on things like the awesome stage set-up and the sound system. We will still have those things, but they won't be as good.
Any pointers for those looking to compete in this year's event? We hear stories of people forgetting keys, wallets and all kinds of things in the pockets of clothes they donate?
Leave anything valuable at home, and for things you need to bring like keys and IDs (including your ASU ID, which is necessary this year), make sure you have a safe place to put them. Like a fanny pack. I've seen some pretty sweet gold sequined fanny packs.
What can, or what should people be donating? Are there certain types of clothing items that are more desirable?
Any clothing in wearable condition is helpful. But, please, keep your underwear. Nobody wants that. Summer clothes are more helpful, because who wants to wear a sweater in 100 degree weather? We're also asking for nonperishable food this year.
What happens to all the stuff that's donated?
We donate the clothing to four local charities and the food to St. Mary's Food Bank. Summer is a time charities are hurting for donations, so this event is really important to them. You can get full details at asuundierun.com/charity
Any last words for those thinking of joining this year's Undie Run?
Just go! It's incredibly fun. Some people express concerns about being in their underwear in front of thousands of people. To that I say, there will be thousands of other people in their underwear – nobody is looking at you! Unless you're that guy in the thong. Not cool. And please, bring your ASU ID or else you're not getting in. We have administrative orders to only let ASU students in this year.
ASU Undie Run, Arizona State University, Tempe campus, Lot 59 North, Tuesday, April 24, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., free, please bring food and clothing donation, more information at asuundierun.com