Starting a new trail

Trio of students form a running club, waiting for approval

Left to right, Cronin, Wegener and Cafferty have worked to form a new running club on campus. Their work out times vary throughout the week, but mimic the same kind of structure. - Photo by Meghan Hosely

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Left to right, Cronin, Wegener and Cafferty have worked to form a new running club on campus. Their work out times vary throughout the week, but mimic the same kind of structure. – Photo by Meghan Hosely

Story by Meghan Hosely, Copy Editor

When then-freshman Kelly Cronin was discussing the idea of starting a running club with a few of her study friends from biology 221, she didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward to August when Cronin found herself submitting a new student organization constitution on UW-Eau Claire’s BluSync website. Cronin, along with friend and fellow officer Abby Cafferty worked on the constitution prior to summer break, and then Cronin submitted it, Cafferty said.

“We worked on the constitution a couple times together,” Cafferty said. “(Cronin) finished it over the summer, but most of it was made in spring semester.”

Since a constitution can’t be submitted without an adviser, according to the BluSync website, Cronin contacted her writing 116 professor, Stephanie Farrar, after some professors denied. Farrar said she agreed without hesitation.

“I guess I talked enough about running … that when she decided to start the club, she thought of asking me to be the faculty adviser,” Farrar said. “And I was absolutely delighted to say yes.”

After Cronin submitted the application, the running club was put on “provisional status,” which she said means the student organization committee is now reviewing the submitted constitution. If changes need to be made or if the constitution is approved, the student organization committee sends out an email.

“I just heard back last week,” Cronin said. “We need to fix like one or two things on the constitution and then resubmit it. Hopefully it’ll be approved by … the end of the semester.”

Cronin said there are specific elements which need to go into the constitution. Her structure included how many runs a week would happen and how many officers would be on the executive board, among other things.

The whole process altogether took her and Cafferty about two weeks to complete before submitting.

Director of Organizations Jordan Mabin said he estimates over 200 organizations on campus have submitted either an organization renewal constitution or a new constitution at the beginning of the year.

The review process of the constitution can take anywhere from a month and a half to two months, Mabin said. For denied applications, the resubmission period can result in a quicker turnaround.

“The turnaround can be much quicker in terms of if they can fix all the bugs that did not fit all our guidelines or requirements,” Mabin said. “But then again, it can be quite slow if … organizations don’t follow the correct guidelines.”

Mabin said if the corrections Cronin made are correct, they should be approved for the spring semester and will be able to participate in the Blugold Organization Bash.

Even though the university has not yet recognized the running club, Cronin and her officers each hold multiple runs each week. Cronin, along with her co-officers Cafferty and Sam Wegener, hold about three runs per week.

They held the first informational meeting for the running club during the second or third week of the semester. Cronin said about 10 people showed up, and the officers went over what the club was going to look like.

While the times vary throughout the week, Wegener said she and Cafferty run on Mondays and Thursdays. Depending on her schedule, Cronin said she typically runs on either Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Each run begins and ends in Towers Field.

Cafferty said while the times and days of the runs are ever-changing, the structure of the meetings remain relatively the same.

“We would go on a run,” Cafferty said. “And if you wanted to go longer or shorter, you could kind of start with us and maybe finish differently. Then we’d all meet up and do abs. And that worked.”

As the semester has gone on, the number of students attending weekly runs has dwindled. Wegener said even though people have stopped coming, informing her neighbors in the dorms has seemed to work.

“Lately we’ve been getting people in our hall,” Wegener said. “There’s two people who normally come with us. But that’s because we spread by word of mouth.”

Cronin said once the university officially recognizes the running club as an organization, there will be a booth at the Blugold Organization Bash waiting for them to display their club. She said she hopes it will attract more interest.

One solution Cafferty said she has  thought of was having more leaders in the future so there are more options to run at different times. This would allow for a better turn out in the club.

“If we had more leaders, we could be the middle-of-the-day option,” Cafferty said. “Someone else could be the night option.”

Farrar said right now, she thinks the club is in a well-situated spot to grow.

“I think by word of mouth, we’ve gotten a good little cohort started,” Farrar said. “And I think that will continue to grow. We have such a great location for running at Eau Claire. We have all these wonderful trails, many of which connect to campus.”

Cronin said for her, running means having a scheduled time to relax and get away from the stress. She also said her ultimate goal is to have fun.

“I don’t want it to be sad for anyone,” Cronin said. “Like ‘oh, shoot I have to plan this.’ I just want it to be a good time.”