Fifty-four people, decked out with blue face paint and glow sticks and donning shirts saying “bigger, badder, blue-er” could be seen running around campus as part of the second annual Blue Light Fun Run.
This year $760 was collected from the run through registration fees and t-shirt sales. All proceeds were given directly to Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates, a 24-hour crisis hotline and online chat. Registration was $10 with the option of paying an extra $5 for a t-shirt.
“It’s really nice to see all of the encouragement from the community,” said Macomb senior and SAPA member, Walter Springer. “The donations help us further the service we provide, and even though it is a ‘fun run’, it sheds light on the topic of safety on campus.”
The program, organized in Sweeney Hall, began last year to help students become more aware of where blue lights can be found on campus. The blue light system is a network of 26 phones spread all over campus to maintain safety and help those in need of emergency assistance.
Creator of the run, Lake Isabella senior Sarah Fiorillo, became more aware of the blue light system when she did a project to assess campus safety during her sophomore year, and discovered that many students didn’t know where many of the lights were.
“A lot of people knew about the lights, but didn’t know exactly where they were,” Fiorillo said. “It’s important for everyone’s safety that they learn where the lights are, especially at night.”
CMU Police Officer Jeffrey Ballard spoke to participants after the run about campus safety and being aware of your surroundings, especially since cell phones are not always reliable.
“It’s very important to stay off your phone when you are walking around at night,” Ballard said. “If you are aware of your surroundings, it’s less likely that you will become a victim.”
Students who participated in the event said they benefitted from learning the locations of all the lights, while getting in a run and supporting SAPA.
“I came out to support SAPA because it’s a great cause,” said Hanover junior Alana Miles. “It’s good to know where all the blue lights are now, because I have always felt safe on campus, but now I feel even more safe.”
Chesaning sophomore Alli Adams helped organize the run this year because it promotes student involvement.
“If people do feel uncomfortable, we have 54 more people who know exactly where to go now,” Adams said.