Each year, UB and local community members gather to participate in the annual Linda Yalem Memorial Run, a fundraiser dedicated to the memory of a UB student raped and murdered on the Ellicott bicycle path 11 years ago.
The 22-year-old was training for the New York City Marathon the day she was killed. Her assailant was never brought to justice, although he has been linked to seven other rapes in the Western New York region during the same time period.
Race organizers strongly emphasized the importance of the event in uniting the UB community.
"The race is very important because it is a remembrance of events that can happen on and off campus," said Carlos Santiago, assistant director of health education and human services. "That is why we need the community, as a whole, to come together and help and educate on the issue."
"We hope that the university and Western New York community will again join together to remind one another that we must take steps to ensure our safety and not to allow our lives to be controlled by fear," said Edward Brodka, publicity coordinator for the Linda Yalem run and assistant director of the leadership development center. Brodka noted this unity is particularly relevant following the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. last week.
"The race does promote awareness that rape is unfortunately still prevalent in our modern, civilized society. The race is supposed to encourage students to run, walk or jog with a friend," said Brodka.
It is estimated that twenty-five percent of female college students are raped, 80 percent of whom do not report the attack, said Ellen Christianson, director of the Anti-Rape Task Force.
"This race is an opportunity for the university to take a stand against rape. It takes a concerted effort to rid this problem in our community. It takes a united effort between the university and the community to rid the problem of rape and sexual assault," said Event Coordinator for the Anti-Rape Task Force Patricia Yu.
The event is also held to raise money for on-campus organizations related to student life and safety, such as the Anti-Rape Task Force.
Presently, a large portion of the race's cost is funded by the Division of Student Affairs and supplemented by corporate sponsors. This year's sponsors include Certo Bros. Distributors, the UB Alumni Association, United University Professions, the Graduate Student Association, and the undergraduate Student Association.
Brodka is hoping for at least as many participants as the 1,200 who ran last year. The only requirements for participation are good health and the wish to promote a good cause.
"At this point, we're really encouraging people to register for the race, and to get their friends to register," said Brodka.
This year's race will take place Sunday, Sept. 23 at 10 a.m., starting and finishing at Alumni Arena. Participants can register in person Friday, Sept. 21 between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the day of the race before 10 a.m. or online at http://www.student-affairs.buffalo.edu/lyr by Thursday, Sept. 20.
Registration costs $10 for UB students regardless of what day they register. For the rest of the community, the cost is $15 before Sept. 21 and $18 thereafter.