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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Students strip, sprint for charity

http://http://vimeo.com/9464660

More than 200 registrants stripped down to their unmentionables for Saturday’s first annual “Undie Run” down State Street. Project 40/40, partnered with SAE, hosted the event, “Undie Run: Strip Down For Your Sweetheart,” to raise money for HIV/AIDS.

Project 40/40 is an awareness and fundraising campaign for the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative. Through a combination of incremental, individual donations and group fundraising efforts, Project 40/40 seeks to partner UW-Madison’s 40,000 student population with 40,000 HIV+ Ugandans in need of finance for their AIDS medication.

Prizes were given to the top three runners, as well as an award for best “undressed.”

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Underwear lovers from around the University of Wisconsin campus united to fight HIV/AIDS Saturday with a race down State Street donning only their skivvies.

Over 200 people participated in the Project 40/40 and SAE hosted jaunt, sporting everything from boxers to banana hammocks. The crew started at the intersection of Gilman and State streets, finishing at Library Mall.

Passersby and employees on State Street watched the event in shock and utter disbelief, but with good cheer. Some curious onlookers followed the th(r)ong to the finish to see why so many students ran past wearing underwear.

Even unsuspecting passengers on the Badger Bus caught the show when the undergarment-clad group forced the bus to stop at the intersection of State and Lake streets.

Despite the surprising delay, the driver smiled and honked her horn in approval of the pants-less spectacle, rousing cheers from participants as they passed.

Chris Erickson, a UW senior and organizer for the race, said event was organized to raise money for HIV/AIDS in a different way.

“We wanted something fun to do for students on campus,” Erickson said. “We wanted to mirror the Polar Plunge [but] to make it a little cheaper… something new.”

Participants paid $5 to run the 0.3 mile race, with the chance to take home medals and swag at the finish line.

First, second and third place racers received medals and prizes from the Nitty Gritty while winners of “Best Undressed” individual and group awards received goodies from Urban Outfitters and State Street Brats.

UW junior Kyle Bennett took first in the race and said he decided to participate after seeing the event listing on Facebook.

“I thought it’d be pretty cool to go outside and run in your underwear,” Bennett said. “It was fun, and it was a good cause so I figured why not?”

After winning the race, Bennett said he felt “cold, but definitely excited. It was a pretty cool feeling.”

In addition to coordinating with the Nitty Gritty and State Street Brats, Erickson said the city of Madison also teamed up to hold the event, setting forth guidelines to follow.

“They pretty much gave us a list of requirements we had to do like let buses through [and] set up barricades,” Erickson said. “It was a quick event — five minutes down the street — so we didn’t have anything too technical to worry about.”

Erickson said although the number of runners had yet to be tallied, he thought the turnout was great.

“We estimated maybe 200 people, so we might have hit around that point,” he said.

With such a good turnout for their first race, Erickson said he hopes to convince Project 40/40, a Clinton HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising campaign on campus, to hold the event on a biannual basis.

Ideally, one Undie Run would take place in winter and another in spring when it’s warmer out, he said.

UW sophomore and participant Iris Ceulemans said she would like to see the event continue.

“I think it could get really big, like thousands of people,” she said. “That’d be awesome.”

Clarification: The original copy stated the event was hosted by Sigma Alpha Epsilon. The event was actually put on by Project 40/40 and was co-hosted by SAE. It was Project 40/40’s idea and mostly Project 40/40’s execution with help from SAE. We regret the error.

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