(SLU) -- Students, adults and children of all ages gathered around the clock tower at Saint Louis University on April 24 to support pregnant and parenting students of the SLU community.
The fourth annual Run for Their Lives kicked off at 9:00 a.m. as the roughly 120 participants prepared to run or walk the five-kilometer course around SLU’s campus. The Students for Life and the Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance organizations at SLU created and sponsored this event as a fundraiser to support students who are expecting or already have children.
Mary Cooper, a member of Students for Life and the Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance, said that the money raised at the event supports many kinds of parenting students including female, male, undergraduate and graduate students at SLU. Cooper said anyone who qualifies can apply online to acquire the funds raised by this event.
The organizations received about 14 applications this year and distributed approximately $3,000 among seven of the applicants chosen as recipients, Cooper said. The recipients of the funds are selected through interviews and a committee including a Jesuit priest, a faculty adviser, members of Students for Life, and representatives from SLU’s Student Financial Services and Housing and Residence Life offices, she said.
One of the recipients is Erin Reynolds, a sophomore nursing student at SLU who has a 15-month-old daughter named Ayla.
“Obviously there are great financial benefits, and it’s also really nice to see everyone who’s here today around campus. It makes me feel much less isolated and more supported,” Reynolds said.
Rose Daly, chairperson for the event, also talked about the benefits of and reasons for the race.
“I think it’s mainly because we’re starting to realize that education is the key to people’s dreams, and the least we can do is show our support. We may not be able to relate to them as parents, but we know it’s rough, and we can support and relate to them as fellow students,” Daly said.
Cooper explained that there is a misconception that no one gets pregnant at SLU, and this race is a way to address that problem.
“We understand that there are pregnant students on our campus whether we can see them or not. Now that we have started this event we’ve seen an even greater need for it, and we’re trying to reach out to as many students as possible,” Cooper said.
The recipients of the money are free to spend it however they may choose, whether it be on baby food, diapers or books for school, Cooper said. The money given to students is a part of their financial aid package through Student Financial Services at SLU. The money is in association with the Virginia D. Murphy Endowment named for Dr. David Murphy’s late wife. Dr. Murphy is a current member of SLU’s faculty.
Cooper emphasized the philosophy of the Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance as the motivation and reason behind this event.
“No student should ever have to choose between having a child and having an education,” she said.
She also explained why she and the rest of the organizers are passionate about this cause.
“We’re just trying to prevent them from going home and giving up on their education. This cause is not just for the parents, but it is for their children and their children’s futures too,” Cooper said.
Katie Hamilton is a Journalism student at Saint Louis University