Virtual Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k donates to TU Student Emergency Fund

By: Grace Coughlan, Associate Editor
Photo Courtesy of Katie White

Towson University’s 6th Annual Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k will be held virtually as part of STAY HOMEcoming and will be donating $10 of registration fees to the TU Student Emergency Fund. 

The virtual 5k will take place Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, allowing participants to walk or run in their own space at their own time. 

“While we can’t be together in person this year, we still wanted to give alumni, students, faculty and staff a chance to show why they bleed black and gold,” said Jenna Mills, Event Manager and Director of Alumni Engagement Programs. “Continuing the tradition of the Tiger Trot not only celebrates our love of TU but also this year it also supports our students through the TU Student Emergency Fund, a time when both things are important.” 

The Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k is known for uniting students, faculty, staff, and alumni for a physical race around the University’s campus. 

“This year the event is virtual, which allows us to reach alumni and fans who are not able to return to campus for a traditional race,” Mills explained. “Alumni from the following states are participating this year: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington.”

Towson University President Kim Schatzel says she plans to participate in the event as well.

“I’m running the Towson University Tiger Trot for homecoming, I always run the 5K,” said Schatzel. “The YMCA in downtown Towson does a Turkey Trot. It’s so much fun because people get dressed up in turkey heads when they run it and do all sorts of things, but it will be virtual this year. So I’m going to do the Homecoming Tiger Trot as well as the Turkey Trot.”

A $30 registration fee is required for participants, where $10 from the fee will be donated to the TU Student Emergency Grant Fund. 

“Funds raised from the Tiger Trot 5k will go to the general account, and then student affairs will be notified of the increase in funding, which they will use to provide grants to students throughout the semester,” explained Nkiruka McGinnis, Director of the Annual Campaign. “A donation to the fund can provide for basic necessities like food, rent, or prescriptions, and it can help students navigate the challenges associated with remote learning. Contributions to the fund can make an immediate impact.” 

According to Mills, the virtual race will no longer require previous costs including permits and organizational equipment intended for the day of the race. The lack of these financial costs resulted in the donations to the TU Student Emergency Fund. 

“We could have reduced the cost of the race, but part of being in a community is supporting one another when it is most needed,” Mills said. “Now, more than ever, our students are looking for support to help afford things they never thought they would have to ask for. We couldn’t think of a better way to show that we are #TUtogether than to add a donation element to the race and support or TU students.”

With 89 participants in this year’s Tiger Trot, a total of $890 was raised for the TU Student Emergency Fund. 

“You can register for the race through Sunday, Oct. 18,” Mills explained. “Of course, we do expect more registrations before the end of the weekend, so additional amounts will be deposited.” 

A prominent aspect of this year’s Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k was the creation of the race shirts that were sent to each individual participant.

“We had one of the Campus Rec student graphic designers, Kassie Hanks, create the shirt design and it is really fun and unique to the virtual race this year,” said Katie White, Associate Director of Programming and Assessment of Campus Rec. 

Hanks is a Marketing Communications Program assistant at Campus Rec. 

“The overall experience making this logo was definitely just fun for me,” Hanks said. “Since I was a freshman, I’ve been super involved on Towson’s campus. Besides sharpening my designer skills, it was important to me to be able to just be involved with something else on campus.” 

White emphasized her hope for giving students opportunities to participate in events like the Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k in a virtual setting. 

“The positives to come out of this are that since our staff are not working the race, we get to participate in it and we’ve created some silly competitions amongst our team to make the best of it,” White said.  “I hope our students feel that dedication from the staff when they participate in programs and events. Even our President, Dr. Kim Schatzel is registered and this support and buy-in is absolutely incredible.” 

Registration for the Tiger Trot Homecoming 5k will be open until Oct. 18. To register for the event, visit Tiger Connect. 


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