Students go bare because they care

Katie Paschall

Showing up to school in your underwear is not just a nightmare anymore — it’s a reality.

Dressed in their bedroom best, UT students will strip to their skivvies and streak down the Drag for the sixth-annual Undie Run on May 3, the last day of class. Students will donate the clothes off their backs to raise money for Cancer for College, a scholarship program dedicated to sending cancer survivors to college.

Undie Run co-founder Weston Carls, said the run is meant to spread good karma in college communities. Carls said many people are willing to participate because it’s a fun and charitable event.

“When have you ever had the opportunity to run through campus with your classmates, on the last day of school, in your underwear, while still contributing to your local community?” Carls said. “It’s freedom for college students.”

Jordon Nevins, a computer science senior, is running the Undie Run for the first time this year. He is most excited to dress down, cause a scene with his friends and run free after a long semester. 

“Is there a better way to relieve a stressful spring semester?” Nevins said. “Stripping down to practically nothing alongside hundreds of other sexy college students couldn’t entice me more, plus everyone is running for a great cause.”

Since Carls and his friends started the Undie Run at San Diego State University in 2006, the event has sent more than 200,000 pounds of clothing to social service agencies.

“We went international with the Toronto Undie Run in 2012 and also the Santiago, Chile, Undie Run this year,” Carls said. “So, we’re not slowing down. This is very much a global movement. I think we’ve started more than 100 Undie Run[s]. It’s tough to keep track now.” 

Although the Austin Undie Run takes place on the perimeter of the UT campus, St. Edward’s University and Austin Community College students are encouraged to join. Adam Mirabella, a kinesiology student at ACC, has run the race for three years. 

“I think the idea of it is a blast,” Mirabella said. “Even though they do these things all around the United States, it’s such an ‘Austin’ thing to do.”

Carls said he brought the Undie Run to Austin in 2008 because he knew it would thrive in a culture that embraces weird, fun and creative events. 

“I believe that Austin’s a caring city,” Carls said. “It shows by the fact that this is our sixth consecutive year to host this event.” 

Mirabella said Austinites of all shapes and sizes participate in the run. In addition to running the race, he looks forward to seeing the costumes. 

“When people start showing up, it gets really exciting and kinda sexy,” Mirabella said. “You can see all kinds of undies there — normal whitey tighties and sexy lingerie to something outrageous. Last year, there was a guy in a diaper and another guy in the bright-green Borat swimsuit.” 

The run is only around 1 mile long, but last year some students decided to go the extra mile. Dylan Goldman, a mechanical engineering senior, said he and his friends decided to put on their big-girl panties and make a pit stop in the school library. 

“Some people, including myself, took a slight detour through the ground floor of the PCL,” Goldman said. “We quickly ran out before anybody yelled at us. I’m sure it was entertaining for all the students studying for finals.” 

Recently, the Undie Run has adopted Will Ferrell as the celebrity face of the organization due to his famous streaking scene in the movie “Old School.” There are even whispers of Ferrell showing up to the university that donates the most clothing next spring. 

The Undie Run begins Friday at 7 p.m. at The University Co-op. This year, Carls said the Austin Undie Run is hoping to have more than 500 participants. 

“I’d like for people to step out of their boundaries to help others,” Carls said. “It’s such a weird sensation when you first come to our Undie Run, take off your clothes and proceed to have fun in your undies. My hope is that people come away from the Undie Run feeling liberated, stress-free and happy they just donated for a charity while having the time of their life.”

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