CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley’s (PSU-LV) Student Veterans of America Club will once again engage in a friendly competition with local colleges and universities participating in the Lehigh Valley Collegiate Alliance for Vets Virtual 5K Ruck ‘n Walk, set for the week of Nov. 7-13.
Registration is now open for the annual fundraiser, which aims to connect student veterans to their university, campus and community by coming together in a friendly competition to raise donations for a cause selected by the SVA clubs from the participating schools.
“There are so many great reasons to participate in this challenge,” said Melissa Baker, PSU-LV coordinator of student services. “The Ruck ‘n Walk challenge was created for the SVA to get involved with their campus and connect to the community at large.”
Members of the PSU-LV campus community, family, friends and the general public are invited and encouraged to participate in the challenge by registering for free and selecting Team Penn State Lehigh Valley. Participants can choose to do either a 5K walk or 5K ruck (a timed walk/march with a weighted backpack) in the venue of their choice. All participants will receive a digital race bib via email upon registration.
To register, visit runsignup.com/Race/PA/Bethlehem/LVCollegiateAllianceforVets5kRucknWalk. There is no registration fee, but donations are encouraged.
In 2020, PSU-LV placed second behind Lehigh Carbon Community College in the Ruck ‘n Walk, which is sponsored by Air Products and hosted by the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Veteran and Military Council, of which the campus is a member. Besides PSU-LV and LCCC, participating colleges and universities are DeSales University, Kutztown University, Moravian University, Muhlenberg College and Northampton Community College.
Last year, 271 participants raised over $3,000 for the Valor Clinic. This year, SVA members will be requesting donations for Tails of Valor, Paws of Honor, a Coopersburg-based nonprofit that trains service dogs for local veterans with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.
“Tails of Valor has had an unbelievable number of requests for service dogs since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, so we are glad to raise funds for them,” said Baker, noting representatives from the organization will be on campus in the spring for an information session.
All Ruck ‘n Walk participants who submit their virtual challenge results by Nov. 15 will be entered to win one of 10 $50 gift cards. The college or university team with the most miles submitted by team participants earns a plaque to be displayed on their campus and bragging rights. The top male and female ruckers with the fastest 5K time will receive a $100 gift card.
Chris Adams, president of PSU-LV’s SVA Club, said it’s important that all participants submit their miles.
“Last year, we had the most people register for the event, but we lost by two people because of not submitting their miles,” Adams said. “So, it’s very important. People need to get out there, and it’s great to do it with a group. It’s virtual, so you don’t even have to leave your house, but you’re encouraged to get out there and do it with other people.”