FAIRBORN — They jogged through local neighborhoods, walked around campus, hiked on outdoor trails and cycled in driveways in 11 states. It was all part of the Driveway 5K, organized by Wright State University Office of Campus Recreation, to raise funds for students and honor members of the class of 2020.
The event attracted 150 alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends who contributed $3,733 to the Katie Deedrick Student Support Fund, which was expanded to support students during the coronavirus pandemic. The fund provides financial assistance to students for food, toiletries, medications, other supplies and travel expenses to return home.
Participants completed the 5K from around Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
“I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of participation from our community,” said Erin Sherrets, manager of the Outdoor Recreation Program. “It just goes to show what a supportive and caring community we have here at Wright State.”
Interested in finding a way to support students through a fundraiser, Campus Recreation staff were inspired by a man in England who ran a marathon in his backyard. They devised a fund-raiser that promoted healthy habits and helped connect Wright State community members staying at home.
“We feel that encouraging people to utilize their own spaces to stay healthy is a really important message during this time,” Sherrets said. “So, we came up with the Driveway 5K as an opportunity to raise money for students affected by the crisis and also encourage people to connect through recreation.”
Held on May 2 — the date of Wright State’s postponed spring commencement ceremony — the Driveway 5K also honored graduating students, said Billy Willis, program director of Campus Recreation.
“While it’s not the same as a commencement ceremony, it was the least we could do,” he said.
Participants were encouraged to show their Raider spirit by wearing Wright State colors and posting photos or videos of their workouts on social media.
“Our social media feeds were just full of green and gold,” Willis said. “I was able to interact with so many alumni, staff and faculty through this. It was great to see how amazing our Raider community is.”
During the event, Campus Recreation staff shared their workouts and stories live on social media. Sherrets took the Driveway 5K challenge literally, completing her workout in her driveway in 275 laps.
Willis asked graduating students to give back because someone did it for them. “Wright State wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have so many wonderful donors and volunteers,” he said.
The event also tied into Campus Recreation’s efforts to provide opportunities for students and employees who are staying at home to connect and recreate. Since Wright State transitioned to remote learning in March, Campus Recreation staff members have produced videos on how to hang a hammock; organized interactive online activities like BINGO, euchre and trivia; and continue to share live fitness classes, including yoga and circuit training.
“We know that physical fitness is one way to help boost an immune system and avoid those extra quarantine pounds,” Willis said.