Association hosts a colorful fundraiser

The Student Alumni Association held a new event when it hosted the first-ever Catamount Color Run  April 11.

Senior Charles Martin, an intern in the Office of Sustainability, expressed his organization’s interest in the Color Run.

“The Catamount Color Run will be a creative, interactive way to get students more connected with programs on campus that affect them,” Martin said.

The run took place around redstone campus from 5-7 p.m. During the event colored powder was thrown at the runners by volunteers, according to the SAA. Donations were made to five on-campus organizations: the UVM Cancer Center, UVM Rescue, the Office of Sustainability, the Women’s Center and Volunteers in Action, according to the SAA Facebook page.

The SAA hosts annual events such as Winter Ball and Senior Week and recently decided to host the Catamount Color Run. This was an effort to create a “fun incentive to give,” SAA Director of Philanthropy Samantha Ryea said. Ryea, a sophomore ambassador for SAA, helped put together the run in an effort to restructure the senior class gift program.

The SAA previously relied solely on the “What Shaped You?” campaign, which encouraged seniors to donate to whichever program or organization “shaped them,” Ryea said. “It’s been fairly successful, but we found that because the donations were so spread out, they were less significant,” Ryea said. “We wanted to narrow the donations into a more condensed number of groups,” she said.

A Color Run participant runs through clouds of powder.
A Color Run participant runs through clouds of powder.

On National Philanthropy Day last November, the SAA began that process. “We gave out My Little Cupcakes and we asked students to fill out which five UVM organizations, out of a list of around 20, they’d be most willing to give to,” she said. “From that we narrowed it down to five groups.”

Representatives from the five groups explained their organizations and their fundraising needs in a promotional video made by the SAA. Junior Mike Barnum, director of operations for UVM Rescue, headed UVM Rescue’s fundraising efforts.

UVM Rescue consists of about 20 undergraduate volunteer and “serves as an advanced life support ambulance for UVM and the greater Chittenden County area,” Barnum said. “The organization is currently fundraising to build new headquarters, which will cost $1.4 million, Barnum said. “Rescue’s “revenue comes solely from billing [its] patients.”

Another participant was the UVM Cancer Center, which is a nonprofit clinical and research cancer center and comprised of more than 120 scientists and physicians, according to the center’s website. Junior Claire Wiggin from the Women’s Center also looked forward to the new event. “We’re really excited to be a part of this color run and get our name out there,” Wiggin said in the SAA promotional video. “Not all of our clubs get budgets from SGA… Donations would be really helpful for us to keep continuing our mission of helping the UVM community,” Volunteers in Action Director senior Sarah Richardson said.

Participants in the run had the opportunity to donate to any or all of the five organizations, as well as any other program or department on campus.