Since 2008, many Colorado State University students have participated in the self-proclaimed stress relieving Undie Run on the last day of spring semester classes. A new student organization aims to take control of the run and rename it B.A.R.E., or Body Acceptance Run Extravaganza.
According to B.A.R.E. President and senior economics student Deep Badhesha, the name change is intended to re-brand the Undie Run to make it safer and more impactful.
When students enter the B.A.R.E. event, they will see ‘don’t assault’ messages. After the event, there will be messaging focusing on consent.
“We want to lead with the message ‘Don’t touch a body that’s not yours,'” Badhesha said.
Women and Gender Advocacy Center Assistant Director of Educational Programming Monica Rivera said they are concerned for the safety of students at the event because of the amount of groping and sexual assault that happens.
“It’s very similar to the culture of street harassment,” Rivera said.
Rivera said that it is a stressful event for students who are assaulted or harassed, especially with finals the next week.
“They go, thinking it’s a distress event and then it actually becomes a trigger,” Rivera said. “Then you have students who are at this event, they experience sexual assault by being groped and then it may retrigger past trauma.”
Badhesha said they went with the name B.A.R.E. because it was positive and gave off the message they wanted to convey.
“This is a freedom of expression and this is a celebration of the end of the year,” Badhesha said. “This is what people know the Undie Run for, but we also want to focus on charity.”
Chance Brown, junior sociology student and the public relations chair for B.A.R.E., said they picked a name that was gender neutral and liked the idea of an acronym to make the name easier to say.
Rivera also said she wanted to make sure the event actually connected to body acceptance like the name suggests.
“We tried to challenge them really to think about, when you say ‘body acceptance,’ is it just because it’s the ‘B’ and the ‘A’ in B.A.R.E., or are you really wanting to make this a body acceptance event,” Rivera said.
Karissa Stolen, senior business management major, and Marie Harding, fifth year sociology major, said the event needs to be rebranded, but a name change will not do the trick automatically.
“It’s not the name that only needs to change, it is the environment and mentality behind those who attend and participate,” they wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We are curious to know how exactly this will align with the body acceptance movement.”
The group plans to have the event organized better by having a stage set up with music playing so students know where to go, Badhesha said. It will be set up so students can donate their clothes right when they arrive to avoid having the clothes lay on the ground.
There will also be a countdown so the run starts smoothly, and student volunteers will stand along the course and at the start.
Badhesha said they are reaching out to companies for sponsorship for the event.
During his Associated Students of Colorado State University campaign for president last spring, one of Badhesha’s platform goals was to better organize the Undie Run. When Badhesha did not win the election, Dean of Students Jody Donovan approached Badhesha and a few other students asking if they were still interested in organizing the Undie Run, Badhesha said.
Badhesha took on the organization of the 2014 Undie Run, and decided to create a student organization to continue the event after he graduates in May. They recruited an executive team, which makes up 14 positions and eight committees, and became an official student organization at the beginning of the spring semester.
“Students love this tradition, so I wanted to make sure this keeps going,” Badhesha said.
Collegian City Beat Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan.