A cluster of students wearing blue shirts and sneakers descended upon the Great Lawn on Saturday afternoon. In just a few long strides, participants of the student-run 5K race both demonstrated school spirit and got a midday workout.
On this past Saturday, Student Events teamed up with the Student Athletic Advisory Committee to host a 5k Run and Sausage Fest, an event that is part of Student Events' Bronstein Spirit Week and SAAC's Division III week.
A total of 27 students registered for the race. At 12:30p.m., they all assembled on the Great Lawn and after doing their warm-up stretches in a large circle together, walked down to the starting line, the crosswalk bridging the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Admissions Center and the Great Lawn.
This is the first 5K and the third annual sausage fest that Student Events has hosted. The race has been revived this year, corresponding with this year's theme for the week, "Camp Bronstein."
"We were going for the nostalgic factor. Although I never personally went to camp, I know a lot of people did here and it was a big and really memorable part of their childhood," Jackie Zais '13, director of social events for Student Events said.
Rita Tobias '14, a social events coordinator of Student Events, described picking a Bronstein week theme as a "gradual process" accomplished through collaboration between members of the SA social department, a committee dedicated specifically to planning spirit weeks.
"We literally sit and write down a long list of any ideas that pop into [our] mind[s]. After brainstorming for a couple of meetings, we usually narrow down our choices to two or three themes and flesh out a very rough idea of events we would have for each theme. Whichever theme we get excited about and feels right, we end up going with," said Tobias.
This is not the first time Student Events and SAAC have collaborated for the student body. "We like teaming up with Student Events because we want to appeal not just to people in athletics but to reach out the general student population too," said Kasey Dean '14, the president of SAAC. Toward the beginning of the semester, the student organizations worked together on the Better With the Lights Off: Bump, Set and Spike dance and volleyball tournament.
The event is part of SAACs Division III week, which ran from April 7 to April 14, an initiative that is three-pronged. The mission of the week is to encourage success "in the classroom, on the field, and in community service," according to the Brandeis Athletics website.
The 5k run represents the "on the field" aspect of the festivities. The Mr. Brandeis Pageant represented the community service aspect of the job.
The race consisted of three laps around Loop Road. Just as the runners were getting ready to start, a tour group passed by. The increased level of school spirit caused everyone to cheer "come to Brandeis!" and "This place is great!" to the group of prospective students heading toward the Shapiro Campus Center.
Participants had a variety of different motivations for running. Siqi Liu '15, who was one of the first to finish, was all about the challenge. "I ran cross country in high school. he explained. I think I missed the competition."
Aaron Hentoff '16 explained that the event just seemed like a lot of fun. "I got an email about Bronstein week and I was just like, 'I want to do that!'" he said.
Jordan Machlin '16 felt similarly. "I wanted to be involved in Bronstein week and this is a perfect way to do it." she said.
Hentoff explained that the hill leading up to Mandel Center for the Humanities was "treacherous" but Machlin explained "after you get past the Rabb Steps you are home free."
After the runners completed their race, they were rewarded with complimentary sausages. Hamburgers, veggie burgers and an assortment of other snack and beverage options were provided. Although the food was geared toward rewarding the runners, the grill was open to all Brandeis community members.
"We were looking at old Bronstein posters in the office and saw that Sausage Fest seemed to happen two years in a row so we thought we would try and bring it back," Tobias said.
With a steady flow of people enjoying the food all afternoon, the event was well-attended. SE Executive Director Rachel Nelson '13 explained that every level of participation in SE events is valued, from the people who just came for the sausages to the people who ran.
"We really like to see students active and involved even if it is just passing by to make a craft or grab a cup of coffee," she said.
The event was a noteworthy blend of athletics and campus pride. "Exercise, school spirit, sausages, what's not to love!" said Machlin.