The Tower Guard Shamrock 5K Run-Walk-Roll is an annual fundraising event that takes place on or around St. Patrick’s Day. Despite pandemic challenges which prevented the Shamrock 5k from being in-person this year, Tower Guard, the second-year student honor society that supports the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), conducted a successful event in a virtual setting. The proceeds help fund equipment and supplies needed to operate the resource center.
On Sunday, March 14th, 2021, The Tower Guard Class of 2020-2021 held the 21st annual Shamrock 5K with several events and livestreams to keep distant runners feeling at home while off-campus. With over 170 people registered, and over 100 people tuning in to the livestreams, Tower Guard Run Chairs, Madeline Eckerman and Jackson Rayer, were flexible and ambitious to create an event that would demonstrate the importance of contributions to an equitable learning and social community. Tower Guard worked together to raise $4,564 for the RCPD!
“Our experience was challenging, but also fun at the same time,” shared Jackson. “We had no instruction manual on how to plan a virtual 5k, so we had to find out what worked and what did not through a lot of trial and error. Not going to lie, it was really stressful running a 100% virtual event...However, it made it all the more rewarding when I was finally able to see some of our E-Board members in person at the Tower, for my favorite E-Board memory, the 5k day itself, where we saw all of our work pay off for a successful event.”
Being that this year’s event fell on Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical constant, Tower Guard thought it was only right to capture an extra special memorable experience for participants. From Irish dancing performed by the MSU Irish Dance Club to the actual “pieing” of Tower Guard executive board members in the face live on camera, the event did not disappoint. With help from RCPD staff, Tower Guard also put together a virtual shamrock webinar to learn about the Ability Access Specialists and how they assist so many students.
Jackson noted: “Runners learned about how the RCPD works and what they stand for, and helped them learn a little more about the cause they are running and donating for. When I came to MSU I had no idea what the RCPD was, and I am sure many were in the same boat as me, so we thought this presentation would be helpful.”
The livestream portions of the event were held at Beaumont Tower, a beloved landmark at MSU and also the symbol and namesake for Tower Guard. Having the virtual event there in the courtyard was a small reminder that although we may not all be physically on campus, the spirit of Tower Guard and their commitment to helping students with disabilities lives on in that storied space.
Thanks to the personal donations provided by this year's event, and donations provided by event sponsor Beyond Women's Care, the RCPD continues to provide a home for students with disabilities at MSU.