Thousands of students strip for end-of-the-year CSU Undie Run

Meagan Stackpool and Ravyn Cullor

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  • Participants in the annual Undie Run cross through the lagoon on their way back to the Rec Center on campus. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • Participants in the annual Undie Run cross through the lagoon on their way back to the Rec Center on campus. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • Thousands of CSU students gather in the volleyball courts outside the Rec Center on campus to celebrate the annual Undie Run before finals week. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • Thousands of CSU students gather in the volleyball courts outside the Rec Center on campus to celebrate the annual Undie Run before finals week. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • Thousands of CSU students gather in the volleyball courts outside the Rec Center on campus to celebrate the annual Undie Run before finals week. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • Thousands of Colorado State University students gather in the volleyball courts outside the CSU Recreation Center on campus to celebrate the annual Undie Run before finals week May 4, 2018. (Photo courtesy of The Rocky Mountain Collegian)

  • Thousands of CSU students begin their loop around campus during the annual Undie Run before returning back to the Rec Center. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

  • A participant of the 2018 CSU Undie Run skateboards on the bridge at the Lagoon fields on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Two men cheer during the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • The crowd waits for a man to do a backflip during the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Participants of the 2018 CSU Undie Run relax on their man made pedicab on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • A participant of the 2018 CSU Undie Run holds a sign intended to celebrate diversity. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • A participant of the 2018 CSU Undie Run holds a sign intended to celebrate diversity as a bystander photobombs the picture. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Thousands of people form outside the CSU Rec Center during the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Emergency services standby as the 2018 CSU Undie Run is underway on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Two Police Officers standby during the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Emergency services standby as the 2018 CSU Undie Run is underway on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • A participant of the 2018 CSU Undie Run sits on the top on a volleyball pole and crushes a beverage on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Police officers begin to disperse the crowd of participants of the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • A participant of the 2018 Undie Run is raised into the air in a grocery cart as spectators cheer on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • Police officers talk after dispersing participants of the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

  • A participant with a broken leg is pushed in a grocery cart after participating in the 2018 CSU Undie Run on May 4th. (Matt Begeman | Collegian)

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What started as a flash-mob in the Morgan Library has developed into an end-of-the-year dash of college students, which the Colorado State University Administration strictly condemns: it’s Undie Run season.

Thousands of students ran in their underwear from the front of the Recreation Center, around the Lory Student Center and campus, then back to the Rec Center and Intramural Fields for post-run celebrations the evening of May 4.

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First-time runner Jessica Neal, a junior human development and family studies major, said she enjoyed the run. 

“This is my first year ever doing it and my friends really wanted to, and they brought me out to do it,” Neal said. “It was overall a really good time.”

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jody Donovan said the Undie Run is not sponsored nor authorized by the University. 

“I would prefer that the Undie Run ends,” Donovan said. “There is more power if students come together and say, ‘We aren’t going to do this anymore.’”

Originally called the Body Acceptance Run Extravaganza, or BARE, the Undie Run was designed to promote body acceptance, Donovan said. Additionally, some years featured a clothing drive where all clothes left behind would be donated to charity.

According to an email from the CSU Public Safety Team sent on Thursday, because the run is not sponsored, the University must pay for clean up, security and damage expenses, which historically costs about $15,000. These funds come out of tuition and fee dollars.

Depending on the year, Donovan said she recalls crowds of between 700 and 5,000. Donovan said the first time she remembers an event similar to the Undie Run was a flash-mob, which caused significant damage to the Morgan Library. In the following year, the mob moved out into the Plaza.

There is more power if students come together and say ‘we aren’t going to do this anymore.’” -Jody Donovan, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

Early in the event’s history, the run took place on active city streets, which adversely affected traffic and caused safety concerns between runners and drivers, Donovan said. The University worked with the organizers of the run at the time to move onto campus, and Undie Run has been off of city streets since.

While the run was not approved by the University, both the CSU Police Department and the Fort Collins Police Department were there to make sure students had a fun and safe time, said CSUPD Chief Scott Harris. 

“Just like every other day and every other time, our responsibility is the safety and security of the campus, and that includes all the students here, the staff, faculty, everybody that’s involved,” Harris said. 

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Donovan said there are still significant safety concerns on campus, primarily focused on reports of unwanted sexual touching and sexual misconduct.

Harris emphasized the event is not sanctioned by the University, and that police were present to ensure safety only. 

“I want everyone to understand that this is not a sanctioned event by the University at all and this is not a sanctioned event by the police department, but we’re here to make sure that it’s a safe run,” Harris said. 

The police were not the only emergency services there. Sean Jones, the battalion chief with the Poudre Fire Department, said the presence of the fire department and Emergency Medical Services was precautionary.  

“Usually what we end up with is skinned knees, twisted ankles, things like that that we can treat right here,” Jones said. “We have had a couple people run into signs and whatnot. We can evaluate them here, and if they need to be transported to the hospital, we can do that.”

Fort Collins Police Lieutenant Jerry Shiager said City police were present at the request of CSUPD. 

“We work together on lots of things because neither one of us can really staff things to the level we need to, so they call us, (and) we call them,” Shiager said. “We want to make sure people are safe.”

Associated Students of CSU President Tristan Syron said, although he has not participated in the Undie Run and does not plan to, there are both positive and negative aspects of the run.

“I think it’s completely organized, 100 percent by students. It probably has one of the largest turnouts of any events we put on the entire year, next to game days,” Syron said. “There are some downsides to it. Sexual harassment goes up … I wish that the property damage wasn’t as big of a concern as it is.” 

Syron also said he thinks it’s important that if student’s want to do something they can do it.

Health and exercise science junior Brianne Corbett said she ran this year to have a good time. 

“It’s the one thing that CSU has that brings students out that’s not organized, and we all love it,” Corbett said. “We have a good time.”

Syron said even though the charity aspect of the event has gone down the wayside, the message of body acceptance is important. 

“There’s something to be said for body acceptance. Anybody can come and nobody harasses each other’s body figure,” Syron said. “It’s really cool that people put on this event every year. It’s a really longstanding tradition.”

Collegian reporters Meagan Stackpool and Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com and on Twitter @MeaganStackpool and @RCullor99.