Four students have collaborated to create the Dash for Endangered on Nov. 7 as part of their end-of-the-year class project.
With a passion for endangered animals and their grade on the line, the students were responsible for starting a group project for their environmental and technological science course that can be locally organized and change the way the community views a specific environmental problem. Focusing on endangered species around the globe, the group decided that a 5K run would raise awareness and support for their partnered nonprofit organization, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
Courtney Baker, senior psychology major from Pilot Point, is one of the group members who started the idea. Baker said the group’s main point was to do something meaningful and helpful for endangered species.
“We knew going into it that putting together an event like this would take a lot more time and effort than the assignment required, but we decided that we really wanted to do something that would be truly meaningful and helpful to the endangered species, no matter how much work it took,” Baker said. “We want more than a good grade; we want to make a difference and reach as many people as possible.”
With support from several sponsors, the students have already begun preparing for the race with the help of the ACU Police Department in setting up street block off areas and traffic detours.
Dr. Jim Cooke, professor in the department of agricultural and environmental sciences, said the students have gone beyond his expectations for the assignment.
“I am encouraged by students who take assignments and run with them and go above and beyond what is expected of them,” Cooke said. “That’s encouraging to me as an educator that students are finding ways to learn and make a difference in the world; that’s a positive difference. I am just glad that they took advantage of that opportunity.”
The race will benefit the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving endangered species and educating the community over proper animal care and conservation.
The group is still looking for volunteers who could help during the race with registration, donations and set up.
The students will ask for $10 donations that will go to AZA, and donators will receive a free T-shirt.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 7 between the police station and the Hardin Administration Building.