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WSU Students give the shirts off their backs

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Two participants of the "Nearly Naked Mile" approach the race's finish line. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Weber State University students braved the frigid night and ran for charity during the annual Nearly Naked Mile on Nov. 18.

“This is a way to get people engaged. The idea behind it is to sympathize with those who aren’t fortunate enough to afford clothes that many of us can,” said Larissa Jiron, Residence Hall Senator.

As the runners went along the route, they stripped off layers of clothes. These clothes are donated to Saint Anne’s Center, a local community shelter.

“It’s kind of like, let me take the clothes off my back and give them to someone in need,” Jiron said.

Megan Orton, freshman, found the chance to help the community in such an unorthodox way appealing.

“I felt like this was a good opportunity to serve the community,” said Orton.

Orton helped volunteer with her sorority, Pi Phi Alpha. Orton stood along the route and helped runners stay on course.

Dani Haverkamp, legislative assistant for the WSUSA Senate, helped coordinate the event along with Jeffrey Henry and Sheyenne Nalder.

Sororities, including Pi Phi Alpha and Tau Psi Beta, were forces in getting students involved, according to Haverkamp.

The event began with registration set up in the Shepherd Union Ballroom. The admission fee was a canned food item(s) or clothing to donate. This entrance fee also provided admission into a ’90s-themed dance that was held later that night in Dee Events Center.

According to Haverkamp, over 500 cans of food were donated during the event.

Runners donned outfits ranging from straw hats to tutus. Sydney Tarbell, junior, volunteered to paint the faces and bodies of runners who wanted to add some flare.

“I like doing this,” Tarbell said. “It gets hectic sometimes, but it’s fun.”

Tarbell decorated runners with designs as wide-ranging as handprints on their stomachs and shoulders, to the word “wildcat” written in purple paint on their fronts and backs.

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Nearly Naked Mile participants incorporate costume elements into their clothing, including face-paint. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

Tyler Hall played upbeat music while Alexis Frias, senator for the College of Science, led warm-up exercises. Frias also recorded the route using a helmet camera and showed the footage to the runners.

Runners began at the Stewart Library, made their way around the new Tracy Hall Science Building and continued around the Bell Tower. They then headed toward the pond, circled around the Social Science Building and then proceeded back to the ballroom.

’90s’ style purple neon socks with the #JustWeber tag and Nearly Naked Mile printed on them were given away to the first 15 runners who crossed the finish line. The socks that were not given away were sold.

Sierra Vashro, sophomore, led the runners and carried the ceremonial torch.

“My nickname is Sparta, so I think that’s part of why I was chosen,” Vashro said with a big smile.

She decided that instead of being the leader for the entire run, she wanted to be in a place to cheer on and motivate other runners.

“I feel like this is an important role, and I felt honored to do it,” Vashro said. “There was an amazing energy during the race, and it was great to be a part of that.”

Jiron and others involved invite everyone to participate next year.

“This isn’t just a run to promote physical health — this is an awareness run that directly helps feed and clothe people in our community,” Jiron said.

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Participants stretch before the start of WSU's "Nearly Naked Mile" on Nov.18. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)
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