Jogging or walking through 5 kilometers of campus Sunday afternoon, hundreds of students and community members took part in the 18th annual Race for the Place, an event meant to raise funds for MSU Safe Place.
The race raised at least $18,000 in sponsorship dollars alone, not counting money coming in from participant fees, said Jonathan Kermiet, a health educator at Olin Health Center and one of the event coordinators.
MSU Safe Place offers assistance and free services to victims of relationship violence, stalking and other domestic issues in the MSU and Lansing area, and also attempts to raise awareness on the effects these issues can have on the community, MSU Safe Place Director Holly Rosen said.
“It’s a silent crime that people don’t address often enough,” she said.
Rosen said the 5K race is one of the main fundraisers for the program. She said about 600-800 participants ran in the event, including those who registered the day of.
MSU Safe Place and the fundraisers attached to it have been important on a personal level for Kermiet since its inception.
In the 1980s, Kermiet’s younger sister was a victim of domestic assault. Since then, he said he’s done everything he can to prevent the abuse from happening to anyone else and is glad to see others supporting the cause.
“I’m glad MSU Safe Place is here doing the things it does, because I honestly believe (domestic violence) would be a bigger problem if they weren’t here to address it,” Kermiet said.
For kinesiology freshman and women’s basketball center Jasmine Hines, who volunteered at the race with other student athletes, the event was an opportunity to help out and give back.
“The community is always coming out to support us, so this is our way of supporting them,” she said.
Family community services sophomore Chelsie Taylor, who ran in the event, said she participates in long-distance races in part because she likes that many of the races help raise money for programs or organizations such as the MSU Safe Place.
“Each race supports something different, and it’s good to know I’m helping out,” Taylor said.