ASU has image problems, Undie Run isn’t one of them

Withdrawing funding for ASU’s annual fun run was a misstep by Tempe USG.

Since 2008, ASU students have been celebrating the end of spring semester classes by stripping down for charity. Even though students are taking off their clothes and showing off their underwear, the event, which would have happened Friday, is more about taking the edge off finals through service and body positivity. This year, due in part to a lack of funding by the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government, the celebrated ASU Undie Run, or ASU BB Run, as it had been rebranded, will not be occurring.

During a lengthy Tempe USG meeting, student government leaders decided they would not provide funding to support the event, stating that having a fun run of this nature hosted by student government makes light of the degrees student are earning.

“Having this party paid for by the University and seeing those photos on the Internet cheapens the value of our degrees,” Tempe USG President Cassidy Possehl said at the meeting. “We cannot continue to unethically represent students for community service benefit.”

At first glance, the BB Run may appear to promote the sexualization of students’ bodies. This snap judgement overlooks the charity work and body positivity the event promotes. The BB Run website boasts that 44,000 pounds of clothing have been donated to local shelters, like the ASU Student Veterans Association and Central Arizona Shelter Services. The run also allows ASU students to take control of their bodies and show they are comfortable in their own skin, rather than being defined and controlled by societal beauty standards. People have dedicated their lives to the fight for body positivity, and it’s a fight that in no way lessens the value of our degrees.

Comparatively, ASU’s stripped-down fun run is a far cry from being scandalous when compared to traditions at other institutions. Forty days before graduation at Columbia University, seniors gather on the university’s library steps to drink 40-ounce malt liquors in celebration of spring and the end of the semester. Although it is not supported by administration, the event seems to support excessive and unsafe drinking. In another college tradition, students at Ohio State University jump into a lake on campus before their most important football game. Last year, people were still taking the plunge at 1 a.m., which isn’t the brightest idea for a chilly November night in Ohio, where below-freezing temperatures are common. While ASU’s Undie Run can be an eyeful, its premise promotes positivity and service, rather than recklessness and irresponsibility.

It’s a damn shame this ASU tradition did not receive the funding needed to continue gathering both food and clothing donations for those in need and give students a body positive outlet during the end of the semester. USG must re-evaluate the stance it took on this year’s BB Run before it is faced with the same opportunity to grant or deny funding to the event next year. USG has been elected to represent students; by cancelling the BB Run, it has failed those that voted them into office.


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