Arts & Features Editor
As the constant rain which soaked Asheville for days slowed to a light drizzle, not an inch of exposed skin was safe from the bitter wind. Despite the gloomy weather, a large group of people stood half-naked, bouncing and chattering in excitement on UNC Asheville’s damp track, gearing up for the nearly naked mile.
The nearly naked mile, an event hosted by the Student Alumni Association since 2012 according to sophomore and member of SAA Jake
Farris, took place on Thursday, kicking off homecoming weekend.
“This is something we’ve done consecutively since way before my time,” Farris said. “We do it every year and basically, kids strip down into their skivvies and then they donate a bunch of clothes for it.”
Last year, the SAA donated two tubs of clothes thanks to the nearly naked mile, although this year they’re expected to only have about one tub full due to the rainy weather Farris said.
According to Farris, the planning for the event began last semester and the nearly naked mile normally takes place in the fall semester, but this year, they decided to change it up and hold it during the spring.
The time of year is not the only change for the event though, the location faced a switch up as well.
“Normally we do it, actually, through all of campus but due to the construction police were like ‘Nah, you can’t do a race through the campus,’ so we had to move it to the track,” Farris said.
Sophomore psychology student Hope Clayton was one of many participants who chose to run despite the weather. She’s also a member of Gamma Phi Beta, who helped but the nearly naked mile on.
“It’s a mile that we’re doing for homecoming week and we run the mile and you donate clothes. So if you take your clothes off, if you take your shirt off, we donate your shirt so that people have clothes,” Clayton said.
Clayton described the mile as a fun and liberating experience surrounded by good people.
“I didn’t feel like anybody was staring at my body and I don’t feel like people are watching me,” Clayton said. “That was really nice because I definitely expected to feel more stared at. So, the people that came out came for the right reasons.”
Senior health and wellness student, Delaydia Frink ran in the mile this year and also won last years nearly naked mile.
“It’s a really good way to give back and have fun,” Frink said. “I think it’s a unique homecoming event.”
Since Frink is part of the running club, running a mile isn’t exactly the hardest thing for him, but said this still a great way to have fun and challenge himself at the same time.
“I looked it up and some schools do races during homecoming, so it was really cool to incorporate a different level of a homecoming event during homecoming week,” Frink said.
For freshman Lauren Callaghan, she heard about the nearly naked mile through social media and said this was a great way to get her energized for her first homecoming.
“It was fun! It was difficult but fun,” Callaghan laughed. “I’m really tired, a little winded, but I’m OK.”
Callaghan went on to say how excited she is to go to the rest of the homecoming events and can’t wait to see what they hold for her.
“It’s just kind of one of those fun things to get everybody together and it’s also for a good cause,” Farris said. “We’ll be back again next year!”