The 34th Annual Steiner Hall Alcohol Awareness Fund Run, commonly referred to as SHAAFR, took place through the weekend of April 11-12.
SHAAFR is an event where students run a two mile loop with a partner around Stevens Point. The pair then hands off a baton to the next pair of runners who then runs for two miles. It continues until 120 miles have been completed.
“Each pair ends up running four or five times throughout the event,” said Steiner hall director Tim Schmidt.
The run started at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 11 and concluded around noon on Saturday, April 12.
“Students fundraised and donated in order to participate as runners as well as to help with the event, mostly driving the safety and shuttle vehicles,” Schmidt said. “The run is done each year to help raise funds to put towards alcohol education on campus and in the community. This year the money raised went to the Bring A Buddy campaign.”
The original SHAAFR event bused participants down to Madison and the run began at the steps of the state capitol and finished at Steiner’s front door. Now it is run as a relay and once each group completes their two miles, they are picked up and taken back to Steiner so that they can rest up and run again in a few hours.
When participants were not running, there were dozens of free activities to take part in.
“This year we had tie-dyeing, henna tattoos, ping pong, Settlers of Catan, create-a-puzzle, and many more great projects,” said Emma Brukner, a sophomore SHAFFER participant. “Because the run is so long, we also served dinner, pancakes at 2 a.m., and breakfast for volunteers and runners.”
SHAAFR was started 34 years ago and to celebrate 34 years of supporting the community, there was also a special tier for donations.
“If you donated 34 dollars to SHAAFR, you got lots of free merchandise and were entered into a large drawing for some pretty incredibly prizes,” Brukner said.
Brukner first participated in the run last year when her friend, and now roommate, was living in Steiner hall.
“She showed me just how incredible this event really is,” Brukner said. “She’s the one who pushed me to sign up for this position in the first place, and I am so glad that I did.”
Because the event is as long as it is, people who sign up end up having a great time getting to know each other.
“A lot of new friendships are made, especially very early in the morning when everyone is a little bit goofy. Seeing everyone come together is my favorite part,” Brukner said.
Brukner says that it is also exciting to see how much money they can raise to help a good cause.
“While pairs of runners were off on the loop, the events going on in the hall ran all night and into the morning on Saturday,” Brukner said.
Brukner believes that this event is important to campus and students because it brings issues associated with drinking to light, such as addiction, rape, sexual assault, and loss of inhibitions.
“Instead of insisting or trying to enforce the idea that college students shouldn’t and can never drink alcohol, we try to promote safety and responsibility,” Brukner said. “We know that this is college and that students will go out and drink no matter what, so we try to inform students of the dangers of drinking and try to give them the information they need to have fun in a safe and respectful manner.”
Schmidt and the SHAAFR committee had been meeting throughout the entire school year to work on marketing and publicity initiatives for the event.
“SHAAFR is a Steiner Hall tradition, but that’s not why we put it on,” said senior SHAAFR participant Phillip Bianan. “As college students, it’s important to think about the impact that alcohol has on our experience as incoming adults. Campus is making a big push towards alcohol education and SHAAFR is an opportunity to make that a fun experience.”
Schmidt thinks the event is important because it is one of the longest running traditions on campus.
“Every year there is a pretty high number of students who participated in the past,” Schmidt said. “The students look forward to the challenge of running 8-10 miles in two mile increments over a period of 20 hours, especially the 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. running parts.”
Schmidt says that it also shows a great unity of students on campus coming together for a good cause.
“Everyone signed a proclamation that was carried in the baton for the entire run and it was great to see all of the signatures of those students who were in support of a great cause,” Schmidt said. “There can always be more education about alcohol and safe alcohol use.”