USD students race for reading awareness

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The Mortar Board raised $200 and 12 books at the second annual Trick or Trot 5K.

The donations will benefit Vermillion elementary schools to improve literacy, said Lindsay Sparks, assistant director of Student Life.

Participants were dressed in Halloween costumes to run or walk the 5K route through Vermillion Sunday morning. 10 students and community members ran the 5K. The race started at Prentis Park in Vermillion, SD 10 a.m. Sunday Nov. 3.

“I thought it would be a fun thing to do together,” said sophomore Kelsi VonHollen, who ran with her friend, sophomore Jennifer Baggett. “It was another Halloween event to go to.”

The event was just one of many the Mortar Board is hosts throughout the year. The money raised will support Vermillion elementary schools. The books will be donated to the Vermillion Public Library.

“The goal was just to get the Mortar Board name out to the community,” said Katelyn Breen, co-events chair.

Breen said the organization’s next event is a rose sale in February for Valentine’s Day, and work at local book fairs to continue their efforts in helping child literacy.

Mortar Board organizations across the country are participating in a national project “Reading is Learning” to help literacy issues.

The campaign is designed to improve relations between universities and cities, according to the Mortar Board national organization.

Mortar Board is a national honor society for seniors at the University of South Dakota. Students are required to have a 3.2 GPA, and must show substantial campus leadership. Students receive invitations the second semester of junior year.