Students were found with missing clothes at Lake Claire on Friday, and while the crowd got shifty looks from bystanders, the scantily clad group let go of its inhibitions to strip down for charity.
About 200 students gave the shirts off their backs to support Sigma Nu’s 3rd Annual Undie Classic, a fun run benefiting Goodwill Industries and UCF’s philanthropy, KnightThon. A total of 1,400 pounds of clothing was collected and donated at the event.
The parade of students sporting boxers, panties, bras, spandex and superhero tighty-whities swarmed to Lake Claire for pre-race festivities including photo opportunities and a DJ at the main stage.
The Undie Classic was founded in 2010 by the Sigma Nu fraternity. The philanthropic event, which in previous years has taken place at Memory Mall, followed a one-mile route through campus.
Kimberly Dubois, a junior communication sciences and disorders major, and her running partner, Jennifer Black, a senior hospitality major, donated a combined 38 pounds of clothes.
“It’s a fun and different type of philanthropy,” Black said. “Most collect money, donating clothes is sort of an incentive.”
The first 50 students to register received a commemorative “Nice Undies” T-shirt. After checking in, getting their numbers and dropping off bags of clothes, the participants were ready to start.
The stampede of nearly naked students trampled the starting line balloon arch when the race commenced. The racers then ran through Greek Park, around the Reflecting Pond, into the Student Union, down Memory Mall and through a 40-foot inflatable slip ‘n’ slide that marked the finish line back at Lake Claire. A group of Sigma Nu representatives acted as guides throughout the run.
Over the course of the race, different stations were also set up to entertain and interact with participants. First was an encouraging high-five station followed by a bubble station. Runners also encountered a techno station that was set up in front of the Reflecting Pond and finally, a water station just before the students made their undie debut inside the Student Union. A limbo station was incorporated as well in the course.
Marketing major Tim Arnold, a brother of Sigma Nu, said the fraternity is determined to make their spring philanthropy a UCF tradition.
“We’ve grown a loyal group of ‘undie fanatics’ that come out and run every year,” Arnold said.
Arnold said the fraternity used a number of unique promotion tactics to advocate the event, including a “strategic undie assault” across campus.
“You never know where you might spot a pair of undies,” Arnold said.
The Undie Classic event was created by two Sigma Nu members three years ago, and the current members are working to keep the tradition going.
“The event was actually created by another brother, Steven Harowitz,” said Joe Lebowitz, Sigma Nu’s Undie Classic coordinator. “Him and I took the event off the ground and started it together.”
Harowitz and Lebowitz took an opportunity to bring a classic throwback to UCF that is similar to other campuses but with a different spin.
Lebowitz said the tradition will always and forever be associated with a celebration of donating clothing by students to the less fortunate.
“Hopefully this event will continue to grow and people continue to get excited about it,” Lebowitz said.
Participants seem to agree with the members of Sigma Nu in the hopes that as a tradition, the Undie Classic will live on.
Sporting a pair of Flash skivvies, junior accounting major and third-year participant Patrick Gardner said he enjoys taking part in the event every year.
“It feels good to run in your underwear and be able to donate to charity,” he said. “It’s a new twist on donating clothes. You’re donating, then running a mile with friends. It makes people want to donate.”
The Sigma Nu brothers chose Goodwill Industries of Central Florida for their clothing donations because they believe Goodwill offers services to the Orlando community that other not-for-profit organizations cannot provide. According to www.theundieclassic.com, Sigma Nu believes that in helping Goodwill, they are not only helping individuals in the community, but around the world.
The winner of the run was runner No. 207, Knight Runners president Sean Skow. Skow sported multicolored underwear-like running shorts when he slid through the finish line.
Skow’s prize for winning first place was a pair of “legit gold skivvies,” as described by junior political science major and Sigma Nu brother Scott Miller. The first-place female received a pair of gold panties as well.
“It’s definitely one for the record book,” Skow said. “It’s a great cause, and I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
Chi Omega sorority also received a prize for donating the most pounds of clothing. Miller said he hopes that the event will continue to bring more people out to donate in the years to come.
“We want to make [the run] a tradition that transforms the university,” Miller said. “We just want to give back.”