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April 26, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

Runners go bare because they care

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to give those in need the clothes off their backs during a "Nearly Naked Mile" clothes drive run Saturday. The run is an "Earth Days 2013" event.

Participants must wear at least one layer of clothing, such as shorts and a T-shirt, but will be encouraged to wear multiple layers that they can "shed" while running and then donate them to those in need through Goodwill. Canned food may also be donated for distribution to local food banks and shelters.

The run starts at 9 a.m. at SRU's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research. Participants will run or walk one mile. Clothes and food will be collected from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Strain Behavioral Science Building Parking Lot.

"The goal is to collect as much clothing as possible from the run to be donated along with what is collected from the Pounds of Giving event," said Nicole Little, an SRU exercise science major from Erie who organized the run. "The run was created in order to give students a more creative way to donate."

Participants do not have to register for the event. Pounds of Giving will be offered simultaneously on campus.

The run is part of a national program.

April 27 is the final day for SRU's Earth Days 2013 program. The Macoskey Center will offer an Earth Fest program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with children's activities, a petting zoo, a sustainable art show and student vendors. A "Polish The Rock" off-campus apartment cleanup will take place too.

SRU's Earth Days 2013 program included more than 30 activities that educated people about sustainability through programs, lectures and hands-on activities. Programs included Recylemania, cleanup days, an invasive plant species cleanup at Jennings Environmental Center, films and a nature hike.

"We haven't finalized the total number of students who participated in Earth Day events yet, but I'd say it's already exceeded 1,000 people and we're expecting several hundred more to participate by the end of the week," said Paul Scanlon, special assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations.

SRU's "Reaching for 2025 and Beyond" strategic plan includes "action steps" for increasing outreach. Scanlon said traffic on the Office of Sustainability's Facebook page increased from 197 unique viewers the week before Earth Days 2013 to 1,884 unique viewers a week during the celebration.

"From 197 unique viewers to 1,884 - almost a 900 percent increase in viewers since our Earth days 2013 campaign started - is a great accomplishment" he said.

Kate Geisner, a park and resource management graduate student from Slippery Rock and an assistant in the Office of Sustainability, and volunteers Michele Sneddon, a communication major from Pittsburgh, and Corey DeSantis, developed the social media campaign.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.