Ever wonder what it’s really like to run from a zombie? The brothers of Union’s Theta Chi chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon know.
The fraternity is a proud supporter of Special Olympics New York (SONY), and each year they participate in, and volunteer at many of the foundation’s events.
Each fall, the organization holds a 5K race — not an ordinary 5K, but rather the Rundead 5K. The runners begin with flags, which are their ‘lives,’ and over the course of the race, zombies will chase them and try to take their flags.
If the runner loses all three of their flags to the zombies, they are dead and the zombies win. Runners who complete the course with all of their flags intact are eligible for special awards.
The brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon volunteer at the Rundead 5K each fall, some acting as zombies, and others guiding runners along the path.
Vice President of Philanthropy, Schuyler Stockman ’16, described the fraternity’s relationship with SONY.
“We started working with Special Olympics New York about three years ago, and since then, they’ve been the main organization that we do philanthropy with. We usually do one major event with them per term,” he stated.
According to their website, SONY is a nonprofit organization that functions primarily from donations.
Their mission is to “provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills and friendship with their families.”
The site also states that SONY serves approximately 66,000 athletes, which makes it the largest in the US, and the sixth largest in the world.
“We are proud to be a sponsor of the Special Olympics New York. Having done multiple events a term since I became a brother, our members get a genuine sense of the importance of providing equal opportunities for everyone to enjoy competing in athletics.
It’s a lot of fun too!” said President of Delta Kappa Epsilon, Andrew Fellows ’16.
At the Rundead 5K, the brothers of the fraternity not only put on some gruesome zombie face makeup, but also performed some crucial maintenance roles.
According to Stockman, “We helped with registration, and then during the race we were in
charge of the finish line. We collected equipment, handed out the prizes, and then stayed late to take down the course and clean everything up.”
For the fraternity as a whole, the event is a fun and effective way of engaging with the community of Schenectady.
“I feel this event as a whole is very important. It serves a great purpose by connecting people and creating friendships. All the proceeds go to Special Olympics New York, too.
We believe this encourages even more interaction between the local community and Union. Being involved with this event through DKE only shows how much our campus, and our fraternities, care about the local community,” said new member, Matt Reinhardt ’18.
The fraternity’s Press Secretary, Brendan O’Connor ’17, agreed, stating, “This event is a fantastic way for everyone to get involved in raising money for a really important cause.
Everyone seemed to have a great time, and much of that was due to the fact that the event was extremely well organized.
Lots of credit goes to the organizations running it, and the dedicated volunteers who helped make things go smoothly. Our VP of Philanthropy really did a great job as well.”
Not only do the brothers work with SONY at the Rundead 5K, but they also have events each term, varying from bowling to winter sports, each event as successful as the last.
“We also help at their Winter Games at West Mountain, and their Spring games held over at Shenendehowah High School. In the past, we’ve helped, and participated in their bowling event at Boulevard Bowl,” said Stockman.
Fellows elaborated, stating, “The brothers love it! I’m really excited for our next event, which will hopefully be later this term.”
Although the fraternity gives to the organization and to their many events, SONY clearly gives back to them as well.
The relationship between these two organizations is sure to last for many years, maybe even until a real zombie apocalypse.