UCSB Students Disrobe for Charity

Undie Run Reaps Cash and Clothes for Casa Esperanza

When Gauchos get naked, the homeless benefit. At least, that’s the idea behind this year’s Undie Run, thanks to a collaboration between Casa Esperanza, cologne-cum-pseudo-aphrodisiac manufacturer Axe, and a UCSB student organizer.

Held midway through the stress of finals week, the affair will occur as follows: UCSB students will congregate outside Davidson Library at midnight tonight, strip to their underwear, and run a lap around UCSB and Isla Vista, ending up back at the library, according to UCSB student Eric Hartsuyker, who organized the event.

Any clothing left behind from the run will be donated to Casa Esperanza, along with $5,000 in cash, courtesy of Axe, Hartsuyker said.

“Axe supports undie runs,” said Hartsuyker, who organized his first undie run at the end of last March after picking up the gig via Facebook. “We want to encourage more people to donate to charity.”

Though Undie Runs have been occurring at UCSB and other campuses nationwide for years, this one is unique in its elaborate amount of funding and charitable involvement, which Hartsuyker credits to Axe’s involvement.

“The biggest thing about the sponsorship is that it is bringing money to throw at the students,” Hartsuyker said.

A spokesperson for Axe said the company embraced it as a fun way to bring students together and help the community.

“Axe saw a great opportunity for something very appropriate for our brand that’s philanthropic and brings guys and girls together,” said the spokesperson.

Axe will be sponsoring a pre-party for the run in Isla Vista, where Axe-funded underwear, silly string and other accessories will be given out, along with cash prizes for best-dressed runner and other categories, Hartsuyker said.

Additionally, Hartsuyker said Axe is providing the budget for him to hire models and an assistant for the event at a rate of $35 per hour.

Finally, all clothing left at the library will be weighed, with UCSB’s haul being compared to other schools nationwide that have held Axe-sponsored undie runs.

Arizona State University currently leads the rankings with 5,300 pounds of clothes collected, according to information released by Axe, with the top-grossing school receiving a large half-naked statue for its efforts.

For Casa Esperanza, the donation will come at a particularly opportune time: the money donated to the shelter will be matched by four philanthropic organizations who are matching all donations through July, said Mike Foley, executive director of Casa Esperanza.

“What [the money] would end up going to is all street outreach programs, beds for people, food, showers, counseling, and our medical clinic for the 1,500 people a year that we help,” Foley said. “It’s a great surprise.”

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