Despite a confusing event name, a group not affiliated with Virginia Tech is continuing to plan an underwear run for charity Thursday night.
The event, advertised on Facebook as “BANNED: Wiggio.com Nearly Naked Group Run at Virginia Tech,” has more than 1,000 potential attendees and involves students stripping down, donating their clothes to Goodwill, and taking a lap around the Drillfield in their underwear.
“Virginia Tech administration found out about the run because a lot of students were talking about it and tweeting it and putting it on Facebook. I think they were worried about it being kind of a raucous event with the fact there’s going to be some streaking involved,” said Dana Lampert, CEO of Wiggio.
Contrary to Wiggio’s claims, the administration has no problem with the actual content of the event.
“There’s lot of ways the students can demonstrate and exemplify the spirit of Ut Protism, everything doesn’t have to be super formal. They can be fun, which a lot of groups do,” said Guy Sims, assistant vice president for student affairs. “I think it’s just misinformation, and I don’t fault off-campus groups asking a question and when someone says they can’t do it, misinterpreting the, ‘why?’”
The description of the event is strongly worded, reading, “We’re told by the Virginia Tech administration that they don’t want you, your groups and friends running on YOUR campus. So much for having fun and doing good at the same time, eh?”
Lampert defended the event, saying the event is intended to be an underwear run as opposed to a naked run. He also said that in light of the perceived ban, Wiggio was withdrawing their involvement and letting the students run the event.
“We’re not really sure why they decided to ban it from taking place, but what we’re doing at Virginia Tech is we’re taking our foot off the gas and saying hey, now it can be a student-led initiative,” Lampert said. “It’s a good cause and a good event, and we’re really hoping that the students rally behind it and make it happen anyways.”
Tech administrators said no ban is in place.
“So far, as far as I know, no formal student group came through to request this event,” Sims said. “Nobody has been denied something like this, but I think people were directed, ‘This is where it should happen,’ and nothing has happened as far as I know.”
Sims said that somebody came in to inquire, but that individual was told races could not be held on the main campus and events must be sponsored by a student group. There was no follow-up.
Wiggio is a Boston-based company not affiliated with Tech or any student groups.
“It’s a matter of who does it,” Sims said. “An off-campus group cannot just come on campus and say, ‘We’re doing something.’ If they were sponsored by a student group, then we’d begin the process of, ‘How do you make something like this work on campus?’”
The Nearly Naked Run is set to proceed as planned, and there are no plans to block it from happening.
“It’s really all for charity, we’re encouraging students to show up at the route that’s provided and take off their clothes, and all the clothes they take off will be donated to charity,” Lampert said. “Then there will be a run for the students to participate in.”
The clothes will be collected and donated to the local Goodwill.
The event is designed to promote Wiggio, which is advertised as a private alternative to Facebook groups with more comprehensive features, including phone and video conferencing, mass texting and voicemails and file sharing.
“We’re a free web application that’s pretty popular at colleges, a way to communicate within private groups,” Lampert said.
The event is national, but focused on several university campuses.
“I think it should be a pretty well-attended event,” Lampert said.
The Nearly Naked Run will take place tomorrow at 9 p.m. in front of Torgersen Hall on Alumni Mall.