An explosion of color covered Slippery Rock University’s campus on Sunday for the first ever on-campus Color The Rock, which raised $2,200 for a start up scholarship fund through the University Program Board. The UPB’s Community Service Committee’s Color the Rock 125th Anniversary Celebration 5k sold out at 300 student runners, with a 30 person wait list to try and enter the event. Even though it is small compared to similar style events, UPB Vice President Brandon Cannon said it wasn’t easy bringing the event to campus.
Cannon, a sophomore Public Relations major, said this has been in the works for around a year, and he and his committee chose this because it had never been done before on SRU’s campus. The problem was it had previously been declined three times before. He met with Paul Scanlon, Special Assistant to President Norton, to propose the idea and see if it would even be an option.
One of the biggest concerns was if the color powder, which is actually made of cornstarch and food dye, was safe for the runners, the workers, and exactly what impact it would have on the campus. VP of Media Relations Matt Steffey, a senior Public Relations major, said “One of the first things we did when it came in was tasted it,” Cannon chuckled when adding, “It tastes just like chalk, or Smarties.”
“One of the things we had to do was test the powder around campus and make sure it washed off with water,” said Steffey. Once they knew the powder wasn’t going to stain the campus, they had the green light to proceed with the event.
Only 300 tickets were available, and only current students were permitted to run. “For the first event, we had to keep it small for liability reasons,” Cannon said. They turned away at least forty community members and faculty members, who were also interested in participating. Steffey commented, “One of the hardest things was turning them away. How do you nicely turn that many people down?”
It was $16 per ticket to be in the event, and that included a t-shirt, sunglasses, a sticker representing their heat number, and two color packets. Part of the ticket cost went toward covering the event, and the other part went toward starting a scholarship fund for future UPB members.
Among the 300 participants was Courtney Lee, a senior sport management major, who was running her first ever 5K. She said she and her friend weren’t too sure what to expect, but knew they could expect a great event because it was put on by UPB.
Fellow sport management major, sophomore Holly Kennedy, was also among the runners at the event. Kennedy said she participated in Color the Rock because she always wanted to do something like a color run.
SRU UPB is already working towards organizing Color the Rock for next year. They plan on holding the event again in April and hope to open the 5K to the community and SRU faculty.
“Who wouldn’t do it again?” said Lee.