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Group celebrates Pi Day with 5k race

| Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Society of Schmitt Fellows and the Notre Dame chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) will celebrate this year’s Pi Day – the date in correspondence to the decimal approximation of the number pi – by hosting the first Pi Day 5K run on Notre Dame’s campus.

The run will begin at 9:26 a.m. the morning of March 14, and together, the race date and time constitute the first eight digits of pi: 3.1415926.

Vice President of AWIS and co-organizer of the event Claire Bowen said proceeds from the run will benefit the Harrison Boys and Girls Club’s Girls on the Run program, which according to the program website encourages girls “to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

Bowen said her previous experience volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run motivated the decision to use the race as a fundraiser for the program.

“I was very affected by the girls there, because most of them had nowhere to go,” she said.  “Literally the Boys and Girls Club was a sanctuary for them, because a lot of times their parents or guardians couldn’t pick them up until six or seven o’clock at night.”

Graduate student Alicia Specht, another coordinator of the event, said she thinks the Girls on the Run program is valuable because it empowers girls in challenging situations.

She said she and her fellow organizers relate to the girls of the program because of the gender inequality they’ve experienced as women in field of science.

“It’s a program that’s very near and dear to all of our hearts just based on the kind of adversity that we’ve all faced,” she said.

The other major purpose of the race is to engage the community, graduate student event co-organizer Kelsey DiPietro said.  She said a variety of interactive events, all with some connection to the race’s Pi Day theme, will follow the race.

“It’s not only a run, but afterwards there will be hands on science experiments, laboratory tours, to really encourage the community – especially young people, both men and women – to see science at a university setting,” she said.

DiPietro said each registered contestant will receive a slice of pie in the spirit of the day, and additional pie will be available for purchase by spectators.  She said there will even be a competition to recite the digits of pi, the winner of which will receive a prize.

Specht said she hopes the Pi Day festivities will become a Notre Dame tradition that encourages an appreciation for science in the community.

“I guess it’s something that’s kind of evolved over the past few years in a lot of high schools and middle schools, this celebration of Pi Day,” Specht said.  “It’s a way to get kids excited about math while eating delicious things.”

Race participants have the option of registering for a 5K, a 10K, or a one mile walk, DiPietro said.  She said anyone interested in competing will be able to register online at awis.nd.edu/piday5k until the morning of the race.

About Clare Kossler

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