Radiating against the darkened Green, walkers and runners primed themselves for the start of the Glow for Hope 5K. In the race, the goal of which was to enhance awareness about sexual assault and dating violence, participants circulated The Green and ended in front of the library.
Saturday’s race, organized by Sexual Offense Support (SOS) went off without a hitch. Though the event was organized with a specific cause in mind, the extra health benefits helped attract some participants as well.
Paul Glinn, 49, was one of the first runners in line, along with his family. He has participated in five 5Ks, two half marathons and one full marathon, including the Washington D.C. Spartan Race.
“I have lost 65 pounds over the course of eight months and this progress is what motivates
me to stay active and healthy,” Glinn says. “I’m looking forward to adding this race to my list.”
SOS, the non-profit group at the university that offers support and hope to survivors of assault, had a wide set of volunteers and planners that came to help out. Junior Allie Ruffner and senior Ratnabhushan Mutyala are both victim advocates who devote their time to this organization that raises awareness to the community about sexual assault.
Victim advocates play a vital role in this club as they help run the 24-hour hotline for sexual assault cases on campus, host individual appointments for victims and coordinate other bystander innovation programs.
“This is a ‘find your own role’ event,” Mutyala says. “I went from helping out with registration to taking pictures to filling up water cups and finally to making glow-in-the-dark bags. The turnout is great, people just keep randomly stopping by and registering to be a part of the race. I’m happy to have been a part of this experience.”
Ruffner says her major’s concentration in domestic violence prevention service at the university is what initially lead her to this club and inspired her to be involved with Glow for Hope.
Stephanie MacArthur, 27, joined SOS when she was a sophomore in college, and now she is the director and overseer of Glow for Hope.
“There was so much work to be done, we had to find sponsors and donors for the race,” MacArthur says. “Then we had to make a T-shirt design, find glow objects, set a destination for the race and so much more. It was stressful, but worth it because this is a great cause that I believe in.”
Belief in the cause is echoed by Glinn, who is inspired by the ideals of his family.
“My daughter is a victim advocate, and I am a advocate of my daughter, so I will proudly run this race,” he says.