Ama-xi-ing color for a cause

Alpha Xi Delta hosted its fourth annual “Step It Up” philanthropy event on Sunday. The event was similar to “The Color Run” and participants were urged to wear white because of the chalk-like paint would be thrown at them as they ran.

The event was held at the Sonoma State University track with different color stations set up at three locations. Participants began by running through the blue station then yellow and finally pink. As people ran under the color coordinated balloon arches, members of Alpha Xi Delta threw powdered chalk on them while others cheered from the sidelines and ran the face painting station.

All proceeds from “Step It Up” are being donated to Autism Speaks, Alpha Xi Delta’s national philanthropy which helps fund research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism.

“Step It Up” coordinators senior Katy Hoeksema and senior Natalie Leighton have been planning the event since January, when they were elected into their positions.

“We get our positions around January and at that point we knew the date, and from there we made a game plan. This is our fourth year doing it and we wanted to make sure we vamped it up. We’re seniors and we wanted to leave our mark,” said Hoeksema.

Aside from the actual run, the event also included Swirl Time, who offered to donate a percentage toward Autism Speaks for every purchase made. There was also complimentary Jimmy John’s, Monster energy drinks, Body Armor drinks and raffle prizes.

In order to make “Step It Up” more kid and community-friendly the event included a bounce house and face painting. One of Hoeksema and Leighton’s goals was to expand the event farther than just the Sonoma State community.

Hoeksema and Leighton had multiple ideas for getting Alpha Xi Delta’s name out to the community in order to spread the word about “Step It Up.”

“We made the Facebook event months in advance, we made all the flyers and had the LoboVision going. We really wanted everyone to go. We even attempted a Snapchat filter,” said Leighton.

Alpha Xi Delta was able to collect proceeds through raffles, ticket sales and an online donation page.

“Just from the online donation page alone we were able to raise about $1,400,” said Hoeksema.

Although Hoeksema and Leighton, along with their assistant Megan Lee, planned the event, they made it clear it required the participation of their whole sorority in order to make it successful.

“It takes a lot of delegating. We are co-chairs but there is no way we could do it without everybody. It physically could not be done,” said Hoeksema.

    When asked why she chose to support Alpha Xi Delta’s philanthropy event, Jess Piel, senior and member of Alpha Gamma Delta said, “I love supporting other sororities and it was such a great event. They did an amazing job and I love the colors.”

Parents, students and community members visibly enjoyed “Step It Up”  as their faces were in constant joy. 

“The support of sisters is an amazing feeling, but I think what is more meaningful is when other Greek organizations support you. It creates a sense of community and makes me proud to be a member of greek life,” said Hoeksema. 

Some participants were so excited throughout the event they even smiled while running through the color stations and ended up with powder in their teeth. 

Even the dogs had powder in their fur. Luckily, the paint comes out with a little bit water.