5K celebrates, coaches elementary school girls

WSU sorority promotes Girls on the Run as their philanthropy, hosting first run this month

KATIE GROVES, Evergreen reporter

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The Beta Sigma chapter of Gamma Phi Beta at WSU has paired up with the sorority’s Xi chapter at the University of Idaho to put on one of its biggest philanthropies of the year.

“Gamma Phi Beta sponsors Girls on the Run nationally,” Emily Carson, Gamma Phi Beta’s Beta Sigma 2018 philanthropy chair, said. “Our philanthropy is Building Strong Girls and we do that through Girls on the Run.”

The event is special to Carson because she participated in Girls on the Run while in elementary school. When she went through her formal recruitment, she found out Gamma Phi Beta’s philanthropy matched with her childhood experiences.

“It was a really cool experience,” Carson said, “and now to be a part of it and bring it to Pullman is really special.”

This year’s event will take place at Lena Whitmore Elementary School in Moscow at 10 a.m. April 28. The 5K run is meant to celebrate the end of the program for elementary girls between third and fifth grade.

“It’s usually a 10-week program, but ours is a little shorter so it ends when school does,” Carson said.

Four or five chapter women are coaches for the seven elementary girls in the program. They meet twice a week for an hour and a half.

During the training sessions, Carson said the coaches teach the girls about confidence and body positivity with the goal of encouraging them to become strong young women.

“Girls on the Run is really special to Gamma Phi Beta because we get to be a part of a philanthropy that every single woman can relate to,” Carson said.

“It’s aimed at building elementary school girls’ mental, physical and emotional strength and health,” Lauren Carlsen, 2018 philanthropy chair of Gamma Phi Beta’s Xi Chapter at University of Idaho, said. “This is done through the lessons that include a physical aspect of a warm-up and workout and a mental and emotional aspect taught through conversation and discussion.”

Carson explained that since this local event is just getting started, only the girls participate in the race. In places like Spokane and Seattle, it’s more of a community-wide event where people can register to participate.

“Seattle’s event takes place later in the year, over the summer, so if [students] want to go home, anyone can volunteer to be a coach, to run in the race or be a running buddy to practice and run in the celebratory race with the girls,” Carson said.

Carlsen said she would like to see the local chapter of Girls on the Run grow by having more participants — both elementary girls and community members. Carson said she hopes the chapters will be able to open the event to the community next year so everyone can be involved.

This isn’t the first time the Beta Sigma and Xi chapters have paired up to do events together.

“Getting the two groups of girls together will be a great advantage for our race so that the girls can see how others react to the program and build each other up even more,” Carlsen said.

Carson said anyone is welcome to come and support the race. There will also be a link to donate online to support Girls on the Run and Building Strong Girls. Carson also said to look out for Gamma Phi Beta’s — and other Greek chapters’ — upcoming philanthropic events.