Brenau has experience holding 5Ks with the annual Dempsey Dash. Justin Chan, a Brenau student, crosses the finish line during the second annual Dempsey Dash on Saturday, March 10, 2018. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau University virtual 5K to benefit student assistance fund

May 28, 2020
Kathryne Davis

This summer, Brenau University is offering a fun and safe opportunity for people everywhere to join together while also supporting students with the Arm’s Length Virtual 5K on June 27.

Proceeds from the event, organized by Brenau’s Office of External Relations, will benefit the Emergency Student Assistance Fund, which helps students impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) with tuition expenses.

“The students at Brenau are extremely important,” said Matt Thomas, vice president for external relations. “We tried to come up with a creative way to raise funds to help our students continue with their education. By holding a virtual 5K, supporters can participate from all over the world.”

The idea for a virtual 5K, which allows individuals to participate remotely by running, walking or jogging wherever they are, sprang from Brenau’s fundraising and engagement efforts using the hashtag #HoldingEachOtherCloserApart.

Dawn Marie Bernhard, director of development programs, said with virtual 5Ks becoming more popular, she thought it would be a great way to get the Brenau community involved.

“My hope is that people get outside, move and remember that we are all one community supporting each other regardless of how apart we feel,” Bernhard said. “And to be able to do that while also helping students — I think that is a win in all directions.”

Brenau has experience when it comes to 5Ks. The university’s annual Dempsey Dash 5K & Fun Run, which celebrates the memory of longtime Brenau Executive Vice President and CFO Wayne Dempsey, provides assistance to students in the College of Education and the Ivester College of Health Sciences. This year’s Dempsey Dash was postponed due to social distancing measures.

Virtual 5K participants are encouraged to invite family members and friends to join. The person that gets the most people to sign up will win a $50 Amazon gift card, while the individual with the most family members participating will win a CraveBox care package. Email participants’ names to Tracy Moore, assistant director of development programs, at The most creative crossing the finish line photo winner will receive a Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera with accessories. Be sure to tag @brenaualumni on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and use the hashtags #BrenauFamily, #ArmsLength5K and #HoldingEachOtherCloserApart.

Registration is $25 and the deadline to be guaranteed a T-shirt is June 5. The T-shirt features the Arm’s Length Virtual 5K logo on the front, which was designed by Aisa Goforth, a senior interior design major and graphic design intern in Brenau’s Office of Marketing & Communications. The back features the logo of Breathe Easy Brenau, the 5K’s main sponsor, whose mission is to educate about tobacco and tobacco-derived products to make Brenau a healthier environment.

Register at