75-mile walk. 24 long hours. $6,800 roughly raised.
Parker Wold, the philanthropy chairman for North Dakota State University (North Dakota Beta), was inspired to create a memorable Movember philanthropy event.
In the spring of this year, their chapter had a visit from Jake Harris, one of SAE’s National Chapter Service Consultants. During this visit, Jake shared his story about an event he participated in as a collegiate. They did a philanthropy walk and partnered with nearby towns to increase participation and advocacy. After Parker heard about this, he immediately started to think of how to do something similar. All of the brothers were on board with this creative idea. This was going to be the biggest event their chapter had ever done.
Tanner Johnson (senior) was a big help to Parker during the event planning process. He worked with local police, sheriffs, and counties to coordinate rides and advertise the walk. Buzi Bus, a local taxi business, came forward to offer help when dropping off and picking up brothers based on their “walking shifts.” Buzi Bus was their chapter’s biggest donor, because half of the money that they charged was donated to their campaign. T-shirts and flyers were also designed to advertise the event.
Kian Heiat, Movember’s Community Development Coordinator, worked with the guys to create a donation page on their website. He even sent them Movember merchandise to wear during the walk, which, hilariously, included a testicle costume.
The night of the event started at a park in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Parker’s vision with this event was to walk 75 miles within 24 hours to Fargo, North Dakota, with brothers coming and going throughout 10 shifts. Ultimately, they hoped to raise at least $5,000 during this philanthropic initiative.
As the brothers marched on through the night, a pilot car led the way with an SAE flag waving in the air. Their chapter advisor, Beau Bateman (North Dakota ’85), joined them during the 10:00 pm to 1:30 am shift. They were constantly updating their followers on social media through posts and live streams of their journey. They encouraged people to donate through their webpage as they continued to explain the purpose of the walk. They even managed to catch the attention of their local news stations to document their progress.
18 hours into the walk, a surprise occurred when they got a call from the North Dakota Governor, Douglas Burgum (North Dakota ’78). He wanted to join them on their journey and check in on the brothers. They made sure to capture the moment since Governor Burgum is an alumnus of their chapter.
After a long day and night, the last shift of brothers made it to the chapter house and celebrated everyone’s achievements. Overall, they raised around $6,800. This exceeded their goal by a lot more than what they had anticipated.
“This event was a blast. We were lucky enough to have good weather besides a short rain shower, but that didn’t stop us,” Parker says. “This isn’t something we’re doing for ourselves. We really wanted to tell people why we were doing this event. We would tell them that although it isn’t November, we’re doing it for Movember because it supports all mens health. We have too many people close to us that we lost them to suicide. This is something we are experiencing in our everyday lives, so we wanted to speak up about this and be the ones to make a difference and end the stigma. That’s the message we want to get across, they may not know what we’re doing but they’ll know why we’re doing it.”
The North Dakota State University brothers want to thank everyone for their support, participation, and dedication. Going forward, they hope to do this same event to support men’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Parker appreciates everyone’s significant involvement in putting together a fantastic event.