For 2015 fundraising, RAMS keeps old favorites and expands to community

RAMS kicks off its fundraising season with a 5k race for the first time.

An unusually warm and sunny morning greeted runners Feb. 7. Temperatures climbed toward 60 degrees with mild winds — perfect conditions for the debut of the Runnin’ Against Multiple Sclerosis 5k race.

The race began at 10 a.m. with over 500 participants from MU organizations and the local community. It was the first event in the Rockin’ Against Multiple Sclerosis annual fundraising season that was not strictly for MU student organizations.

“The 5k is the first event in the community that has gotten (RAMS) recognition outside of Greek Life,” RAMS advisor Gretchen Roberts said.

Roberts, who is also the Multiple Sclerosis Institute of Mid-Missouri coordinator, said she hopes this recognition will encourage community awareness and involvement with the fight against multiple sclerosis.

All the proceeds from the RAMS events go to the MS Institute, which helps Columbians who struggle with multiple sclerosis, providing them with equipment and healthcare they may not be able to afford on their own.

Last year, RAMS raised over $65,000. The average amount raised in years past was $50,000.

Several events during February will help with fundraising.

Rock ’N Bowl, an all-you-can-bowl extravaganza, took place at AMF Bowling on Providence Road on Feb. 8. For this, student organizations gathered groups of six people in for a tournament.

The following Monday was Speaker Night, an event that allows those who have experienced multiple sclerosis first-hand to share their stories.

Sophomore Kelsey Mahoney, who attended the event, said she did not previously know much about the disease.

“It’s cool and inspiring to hear how they cope with MS,” Mahoney said. “It’s a significant disease. It’s a good cause. (Speaker Night) made me want to do more.”

Mahoney is one of the many students participating in the longest event of the season, Jail ’N Bail, which is taking place in the MU Student Center and Speakers Circle from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

For the event, students are locked inside a dog cage while their counterparts stand outside to beg passersby for money to release them. Also on Feb. 11 and 12 are Trivia Night and Comedy Night, respectively, both at 7 p.m.

Trivia Night will be at Harpo’s and Comedy Night will be at Déjà Vu Comedy Club.

Service Day, which falls on Valentine’s Day this year, is another way volunteers can be directly involved with the MS Institute’s clients.

Groups of four or five people team up with members of the RAMS steering committee and go to clients’ houses to help them with everyday tasks that they may find difficult, such as raking and cleaning.

This year, to celebrate the coincidental conjunction of the event with the hearty holiday, student organizations are assembling “Valentine’s packets” to give to the MS families as well.

The main event of the RAMS season is Rock It — a three-day event showcasing five-minute performances by members of various student organizations. The preliminary rounds will be on Feb. 16 and 17 at The Blue Note, and the finals will be on Feb. 24 at the same venue.

“That’s the reason I think people come back to RAMS,” RAMS Tri-Director Andrew Fisher said. “It’s so much fun.”

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