One hundred and fifty-five runners took part in Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s third annual Halloween 5K marathon Saturday to raise around $9,000 for Doorways for Women and Family, a charity that works to support victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.
The 5K concludes a monthlong fundraising effort by SigEp as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
This year’s run, which saw 40 fewer runners than last year’s turnout of 195, was co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Real Estate Club, the Georgetown University Student Association, Knights of Columbus, Georgetown University Alumni and Student Federal Credit Union, Blue & Gray Tour Guide Society and Students of Georgetown, Inc.
In addition to the $15 dollar race registration fee, the fraternity sold raffle tickets for the charity throughout the month.
SigEp’s Vice President of Philanthropy Christian DeRosa (COL ’17) said the amount raised has a significant impact on the charity.
“Doorways is a fairly small shelter in Arlington, Virginia. The money that we raise — we are a very large portion of the money that they have,” DeRosa said. “They don’t have necessarily massive channels of marketing like some other bigger charities may have. Each dollar definitely goes a long way for an event like this.”
According to Doorways’ Communications and Outreach Manager Linley Beckbridge, SigEp’s contributions this year are especially important given the organization’s current budgetary status.
“This gift is really essential to us year after year and especially now that the need is greater than ever,” Beckbridge said. “This gift is huge and makes a great impact.”
In addition to serving as Arlington’s only domestic violence emergency shelter, Doorways provides a wide range of services to help its clients in the longterm, including a court advocacy program to help victims obtain orders of protection against their abusers, child care services to help children adjust to the effects of homelessness and domestic abuse and an economic empowerment program, which educates Doorways’ clients on budgeting and managing debt.
Beckbridge said the money raised by SigEp will mostly go to supporting the charity’s long-term programs.
“All of the comprehensive support services, counseling and case management, the financial independence, education, kid services are covered though private support,” Beckbridge said. “So they are really going beyond our immediate response and our emergency shelter and are the key difference in helping our clients achieve the longterm safety and stability.”
Health Education Services Staff Clinician and Sexual Assault Specialist Jennifer Wiggins said SigEp’s annual 5K draws attention to domestic violence, a topic that often receives too little attention on campus.
“What often happens is domestic violence gets associated with married couples and couples that are having families, but we don’t always take a look at how domestic violence impacts college-age students,” Wiggins said.
Tara Smith (COL ’19), who ran in the 5K, said she hopes the community will continue to address the issue of domestic abuse.
“I think that it is a really important issue, so I think that members of our community should do something to support it,” Smith said.
DeRosa said he hopes the 5K helps raise awareness about domestic violence.
“Most of the brothers and people in Georgetown come from pretty solid families and don’t have to deal with these issues and come from a secure home, and even if not, many can consider Georgetown a secure home and that’s not something that these women and these children are facing,” DeRosa said. “To be able to again use our influence and use our manpower to make a difference is very important to us.”
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