by Matthew Donahue
Eyes closed and brain dormant in a sleep induced coma, I reclined. Ring, Ring, Ring-Ring. I slapped the snooze button on my bedside alarm clock once more, rolled over and fell with a splat onto the concrete floor. Set-up for the big 5K for Brighter Dawns was about to start and I was falling head over heels, quite literally, back into reality. Grasping my desk I pulled myself up and brushed off the dust bunnies lingering on my shirt. The day had begun.
As formidable clouds formed, fear sunk in. We crossed our fingers as we set up the registration tables and marked the trail for the 5K. Rain seemed inevitable. Wind whipped the Brighter Dawns banner against the registration table creating a rhythmic beat and fanning cold air on the faces of onlookers. But the gloomy forecast did not stop participants from pouring in from both the Wesleyan and Middletown community. With smiles on our faces, we managed the chaotic surge of registering participants a half hour before the race began and it dawned on me that nothing can rip the close nit community of Middletown apart. The weather, distance and location of the event became a moot point. Running enthusiasts, spectators, and walkers alike banded together in support of Brighter Dawns’s mission to provide the slums of Bangladesh with easy access to clean water, proper sanitation and education. Between t-shirt sales, registration, donations and sponsorships, Brighter Dawns raised over $1,000 for their cause. Participants ran, jogged, or walked for thirst, and for life in the slums of Bangladesh.
Looking back now I realize that the 5K for Brighter Dawns was a learning experience for us all. I never knew the behind-the-scenes logistics of helping organize a new campus event, with the aims of fundraising money for a nonprofit, but working with the rest of the team I quickly learned the importance of flexibility, planning ahead of time, and allowing open discussion between both the Middletown and Wesleyan communities.
Overall the 5K was a great success and I would like to take a moment to thank President Roth, Middletown Mayor Giuliano, the Middletown police, Wesleyan Public Safety, the Student Activities and Leadership Development Office, the Interfaith Justice League and the Student Budget Committee for funding, Home Team Supply for discounted awards, the Middletown Eye and the Class Deans for community outreach, student volunteers and most importantly our passionate participants.
Be sure to invite your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors to our 5K for Brighter Dawns next year. Join us next year to run, jog, walk, or even gallop for thirst, and for life in the slums of Bangladesh. A small donation goes a long way to provide those less fortunate the opportunity to thrive. The individual can truly make a difference.