Photo: Michael Rutledge
At 9 p.m. sharp last Thursday, an air horn roared across a peaceful Drake campus, sending naked, goose-bumped covered legs rocketing forward for the first Drake University Nearly Naked Mile.
The Drake Student Alumni Association hosted a new homecoming event on campus to benefit the Des Moines area Goodwill Industries. The Nearly Naked Mile is a charity event made in collaboration between the SAA and Goodwill to benefit local area families.
Drake students were invited to arrive in clothes they wished to donate, and then run a one-mile lap around the Drake campus in far less attire. Each student was asked to bring at least three clothing items, but most students brought much more.
Goodwill is an international organization that provides support services and clothing items to struggling families who would otherwise be forced to go without them. As winter approaches, Goodwill’s resources are stretched extra thin, making events such as the Nearly Naked Mile that much more important.
Senior Emily Boyd is an intern at Goodwill and helped coordinate the event.
“Participating in events like this help promote Goodwill and Drake,” she said. “The mile in particular is great for the community. It’s good to use the things we have and give to something bigger than ourselves. Luckily, we have a great organization to give to.”
Around 100 Drake students began filing into Olmsted around 8:30 p.m., bundled up in two-sizes-too-big sweatshirts, circa 2003 T-shirts and mismatched socks. As the clock inched closer to 9 p.m., the layers melted away and the donations pile grew higher, revealing a plethora of skin tones and shapes.
SAA President Christopher Nowacki began herding the steadily growing crowd out into the Olmsted parking lot on the chilly 52-degrees night. After a brief shuffle to move the athletically disposed to the front, the race was underway. The route snaked around Olmsted, across Helmick Commons and through Meredith Hall before coming to a stop in front of Cowles Library, where a dozen Papa John’s pizzas were waiting.
“Food of champions,” junior Carly Hamilton said.
Hamilton ran the mile with her friends, who became interested in the event because of the cause it supported.
The SAA gave out awards following the race. Senior Colin Hagan received an award for finishing first, running the mile in less than six minutes. The Drake Knights of Columbus received an award for donating the most clothes as a group and the Drake choir won for best costumes, sporting white bow ties with nothing underneath.
Nowacki and the SAA were thrilled with the turnout and hope to turn the Nearly Naked Mile into an annual Drake Homecoming tradition.
“Let’s make it bigger than Street Painting,” Nowacki announced via loudspeaker before the race started.
The crowd roared with approval, but that might have been the hyperthermia talking.