Joe Podelco / The Lantern
Thousands of half-naked Ohio State students stripped to their skivvies and ran through the streets Thursday night to support local homeless during the OSU AXE Undie Run Challenge. Through the clothes shed and other donations, AXE collected 1,760 pounds of clothing for the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless.
“I thought the event was a total success,” said Jake Schnall, a third-year in marketing and logistics and an organizer of the run. “We collected a ton of clothes, everyone had a blast and no one was injured. I think this might become a tradition at OSU.”
Schnall estimated 2,000 people were at the run, which started in front of O Patio & Pub at the corner of 15th Avenue and High Street. The runners ran east on 15th, north on Indianola Avenue, west on Woodruff Avenue and then south on Pearl Avenue to the finish line at 15th.
The run began at about 9:45 p.m. with a Columbus Police cruiser clearing the streets and leading the way. Students ran chanting “U-S-A” and singing, “We Don’t Give a Damn for the Whole State of Michigan.” Many along the route gathered outside their homes to watch the half-naked runners.
The mass of students running in their underwear, along with additional police and chants for OSU, the scene Thursday night brought back memories of another Thursday night tradition at OSU — the Mirror Lake jump — without the frigid temperatures and dirty lake smell.
According to AXE’s Facebook page, the purpose of an undie run is to “unwind and give back to the community” by having students “run buck-ass wild across campus.” AXE picked OSU and nine other schools to participate in undie runs across the country and donate clothes shed to local homeless shelters.
The majority of students were dressed in boxers, bras and briefs, but some got creative with their outfits. Ryan Blatz, a fourth-year in computer science, ran in a head-to-toe lime green bodysuit similar to the Green Man suit from the television show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Tyler McCarrom, a third-year in horticulture, ran in nothing but a diaper.
Students came out to run for many reasons. Some said they came to give back to the homeless, others said it was a good distraction from homework, and a few said they came out just because they were drunk.
Alisha Chow, AXE Brand Ambassador to OSU and a fourth-year in communication, said much of the event’s success can be attributed to Facebook. Many people who came said they heard about the run through a Facebook invite to the event. Much of the advertising for the event was done through the popular networking site because just about every college student has a Facebook and that’s where they hear about events, Chow said.
This is the first year AXE has held the Undie Run Challenge. AXE has also pledged to donate $5,000 to each of the charities chosen by the universities.
Whichever school accumulates the most clothes will win a statue of a half-naked person. It looks as if Arizona State University will receive the statue, with a donation of 5,300 pounds of clothing. OSU placed fourth in the challenge.