The Mercer Service Scholars Class of 2014 hosted a 5K race Saturday, Mar. 23, to raise funds for the Trivandrum Fuller Center for Housing in Kerala, India. They dubbed their event the Curry Scurry—“a catchy race name that also encapsulates Indian culture,” said cohort-member Lindsey Autry.
The race lasted an hour while runners scurried around Mercer’s campus and finished in Mercer Village.
In accordance with the Service Scholar program requirements, the group traveled on mission to India last summer to help the Trivandrum Fuller Center for Housing in the construction of homes. One part of their mission included a fundraising effort for the Fuller Center in Kerala.
“We set a goal of $5,000 because that’s how much one house costs to build,” said Autry.
After settling on a 5K race as the fundraising method, the group began organizing the event and splitting responsibilities with Kelsey Jones and Gillian Ford spearheading the bulk of the project.
“Everyone has little tasks, like I’m picking up fruit and granola before the race on Saturday,” Autry said about the combined efforts of the entire cohort.
Jones and Ford met with city officials to make sure the race was feasible and gathered sponsors from around the community.
Jones called sponsorship the biggest obstacle, yet she said it also allowed a unique opportunity for the MSS class to tell stories of their experience in India. She said “it took a long time to find and spark interest in sponsors mostly because it’s hard for people to relate to a cause benefitting somewhere a half world away.”
Despite the hardships, Jones said great sponsors who are fully supportive of the cause have endowed the event.
Jones said she and Ford wanted to personally extend a thank you to all of the sponsors: Signature Salon and Spa, Karats and Keepsakes, Macon Nail and Tan, Fountain Carwash, College Hill Alliance, Roadld, Runfit Sports, Macon T-shirts, Mrs. Dianne Fuller of the Fuller Center for Housing, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Dr. Chris Grant, Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, Dr. Mary Ann Drake, Miss Chelsea Flieger, and Mercer Police and Chief Collins.
The sponsors’ role with the event lessened out-of-pocket costs for the 5K, including the alleviation of a t-shirt fee added to the cost of registration for runners. Efforts to keep registration fees low allowed more people to sign up for the run.
A discount for Mercer students, faculty, and staff was provided to lower costs to ten dollars, a more reasonable amount for college students to pay.
Sponsors also ensured all profits for the event would be sent to the Fuller Center in India by helping fund other additional costs.
Usually police who offer their services to 5K runs must be paid, however, Mercer Police decided to work the event as a part of their normal hours with essentially four officers on-duty to cover the event. Jones and Ford especially appreciate their efforts and cooperation.
“Undertaking a 5K alone is not so bad, but prior commitments stretched both of us to the thinnest,” Jones said of her and Ford’s work with the project. “Support from others and [the donations from] sponsors made everything easier, but it was a learning experience all the same.”