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Run for Respect highlights Sexual Awareness week

Mary Cunningham / Reporter

The second annual Run for Respect, sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, is being held on April 22 to raise money for Crossroads, a sexual assault response and resource center in Burlington.

The event is a 5K run or walk around Elon's campus. There is a $10 registration fee for students and $20 for community members. Late registration and sign in begins at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m.

"This event is so important since sexual assault is such a dominant issue, especially after last year's events at Elon," sophomore Eric Garren said. "Sexual assault varies on many levels, and thus it is important to make the community knowledgeable about this serious issue. Such knowledge will help individuals identify and solve sexual assault issues at an earlier stage."

Garren is part of the SAAC committee that is organizing the event.

Seniors Danny Quinn, Liza Schirmer, John Tumbleston, Malcolm White and junior Katie Whidden make up the rest of the committee.

Barbara Boyette, assistant athletics director, who serves as the race director, says the event would not have been possible without these students to organize it.

Crossroads approached the SAAC about partnering together on an event to help raise money for the center. Boyette saw that North Carolina State University hosted a Run for Respect and thought it would be a great event to bring to Elon.

Last year, the event raised about $400 for Crossroads. SAAC hopes to at least double that number this year.

With the successful sponsorship from Alamance Regional Medical Center, DSI and Off 'N Running, all the registration fees will go to Crossroads and none will be needed for the assorted goodies that the runners will receive. The first, second and third place men and women will receive prizes, along with door prizes that will be handed out at the end of the race.

"Everyone was really pleased with how successful it was last year and showed support for this year," Boyette said.

The run is the concluding event to the sexual assault awareness events held in April. Earlier in the month, "Let's Talk About It," a presentation on sexual violence, had standing room only. A self defense workshop for women and a panel discussion presented by the Women and Gender Studies Committee were other successful events. The Clothesline Project is an awareness campaign that uses T-shirts to represent facts about sexual violence that is on display in Moseley.

"The issue of sexual assault is real and present in the Elon community," said Leigh-Ann Royster, coordinator for Personal Health Programs and Community Well-Being.

Royster stresses the importance of sexual assault awareness and the fact that she works with students every week who have been sexually assaulted. The community only hears about the acts of sexual violence whose victims choose to have an alert sent out, but there are many more cases that the community does not hear about.

Royster believes the community has an obligation to work together to help prevent sexual violence. Awareness is a key step to prevention, which is one reason why Run for Respect is a great event.

"It supports a great cause which effects all people and needs to be addressed and discussed continuously and its a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, win some prizes and support Sexual Assault Awareness month and Crossroads," Schirmer said.

The run will happen rain or shine, and the SAAC encourages everyone to come out and support the cause.

Contact Mary Cunningham at pendulum@elon.edu or 278-7247.