After a successful inaugural event last year, the Plattsburgh State women’s soccer team and PSUC’s Autism Speaks U chapter have once again partnered to host the second annual Color Walk/Run at the college Saturday, April 30.
Registration will begin at 10 a.m., and participants will hit the course that starts and ends behind Memorial Hall at 11 a.m., enjoying a scenic route along the Saranac River.
The event aims to raise autism awareness and support the PSUC women’s soccer team, with 60 percent of proceeds going to Autism Speaks U and 40 percent being put toward the women’s soccer program.
With the Color Walk/Run nearing, women’s soccer head coach Tania Armellino said everything has developed smoothly, and everyone involved expects a large turnout this year. She also said women’s soccer and PSUC’s Autism Speaks U chapter working together has been a great experience and acknowledged how the relationship between the two formed unexpectedly.
Last year, the two groups discovered they had both planned a color run on the same day, but instead of changing dates, both decided to combine efforts and unite as one.
While the partnership developed unintentionally, Armellino happily noted how the inaugural event exceeded everyone’s hopes.
“Last year, everything turned out bigger than any of us expected,” Armellino said. “Women’s soccer and Autism Speaks coming together totally happened by accident, but it was a great accident.”
At last year’s Color Walk/Run, Armellino said she looked out at the starting line, not necessarily knowing what to expect since the event was new to PSUC, but when she did, all she saw was a group of about 200 people with campus and community members wearing white shirts ready to be doused with color.
Armellino acknowledged how this was one of her favorite memories from a year ago and one that provided confidence to do another Color/Walk Run. Both groups have been organizing this year’s event for an extended time period.
“Tania and I started planning this the day after last year’s event, so it’s been one of those things where it’s kind of been our baby,” senior special education major and president of PSUC’s Autism Speaks U chapter Breanna Syslo said. “We have been talking nonstop. I have created a close relationship with her, and we have been working on it constantly.”
Sylso also said the relationship the women’s soccer program and Autism Speaks U possesses has helped develop and create an enjoyable day for all participants, and she said everyone involved wants to make the second Color Walk/Run better than its predecessor.
One of the most noticeable improvements to this year’s event will be a larger amount of color, which was a response to the feedback both groups received from participants.
“Last year, people said they just wanted more color, and it made sense, so we were like, ‘You know what? We will work on that,’” Armellino said.
Blue was the only color thrown at the first Color Walk/Run, but this time, red, green and purple will also be used, and instead of liquid, all the colors are powder based, which Armellino said will help preserve the amount they have for the day.
As the event approaches, women’s soccer assistant coach Frantzy Noze said everyone is excited to be part of the event, and he stressed how great an experience this has been for the team.
“Raising awareness for a great cause like this is just really good and having all our team support this couldn’t be better,” Noze said.
To participate in the event, student registration is $5, while faculty and staff is $10. Anyone from the general public can register for $15, and children 12 or younger are free. The first 100 participants who check in and register on the day of the event will receive a free white T-shirt.
Armellino said she hopes the Color/Walk run can become a long-standing tradition at PSUC, and she said she wants everyone who participates this year to have fun and enjoy themselves.
“It’s for a great cause in autism awareness,” Armellino said. “You can walk it. You can run it. It doesn’t matter. You can do anything you want and just have some fun. You can get some color on you and enjoy a beautiful day for a wonderful cause.”
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