That Gay 5K draws community, raises funds

Emily Wilbur

Rainbow colors and live music swept through campus early Saturday morning during “That Gay 5k,” hosted by Kent State’s LGBTQ Center.

“Cheer if you’re a morning person and you’re happy to be here,” said Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Center, to the crowd gathered.

Covered in rainbow chalk, people of all ages ranging from students, families and toddlers, participated in the color run and showed their support for the LGBT community.

Twelve stations were set up throughout the campus with water for participants, as well as staff members throwing colors as runners came by. Each station consisted of colors that represented different orientations and identities within the LGBT community.

The money raised from “That Gay 5k” goes to the LGBTQ Student Center’s Emergency Fund.

The Emergency Fund is for LGBT students who have been disowned for coming out and are now in financial difficulty, said Blake Kinsel, a senior chemistry major.

Kinsel planned the event. With the help of the Emergency Fund, students are more likely to stay at Kent State when experiencing the hardships after coming out to their family.

“The fund is getting low so this is a fundraiser to replenish that fund,” Kinsel said.

According to the center’s website, the money goes toward students in need of additional funding for books, academic supplies, household items, housing, or food.

“I’m a part of the LGBT community and so I felt it was essential to do this,” said Stephen Francis, a freshman visual communication design major. And running keeps me in shape, so that’s a plus.”

Kinsel says that because of their 11 sponsors — including The College of Communication and Information and DeWeese Health Center — they were able to have the fundraiser. Over $1,000 was donated toward the 5K.

CCI donated $1,000, and the health center donated $120. Roughly 100 people signed up, not including the ones that signed up upon arriving.

“I’ve been trying to push myself to get in shape more, and then I saw this and the color run really looked like a fun event,” said Sarah Riedlinger, a freshman visual communication design major. “I’m supportive of anything having to do with the (LGBT) community.”

After the run, people received bags with information on the LGBT community and the different LGBT-related groups on campus that students can join.

“I’ve never been in a color run before, so I thought it was a nice opportunity to give back to the community that a lot of my friends are a part of,” said Tannisha Thomas, a freshman journalism major. “I feel really good knowing that my money is going towards something so great.”

Contact Emily Wilbur at [email protected]