LEWISBURG - Most college students go home for Fall Break to do laundry and catch up on their sleep.
Members of the Bucknell chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) are made of sterner stuff. Sixty fraternity members will participate in the annual Reagan Run, a 182-mile relay race from Lewisburg to Washington, D.C.
The Ronald Reagan Run for Alzheimer's honors the nation's 40th president who was a member of TKE at Eureka College. Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and died in 2004.
The run officially begins at 5 p.m. Thursday night, with the first leg of the race being run from the TKE house (located on Fraternity Road across from the Observatory) to the President's House on University Avenue.
Each 15-mile leg must be completed by five brothers, and each brother is asked to run at least a mile. Participants will carry a purple horseshoe the entire distance to Washington, D.C. Runners are split up into groups, with each group assigned to run specific legs. When a group finishes, the last runner passes the horseshoe on to the next group, which is waiting at a designated switch off point.
The route follows back roads from Lewisburg through Gettysburg and Harrisburg before finishing in front of the White House lawn, where "All the brothers will gather and present a check to the Alzheimer's Association, which is TKE's national philanthropy," said Steve DeMelis, a junior majoring in electrical engineering and co-chair of the run.
DeMelis, who participated in last year's run, said, "It was a great experience in helping the community, as well as helping to form the strong bonds our fraternity brothers have."
TKE runners are raising money through sponsorships from family, alumni, businesses and the campus community. The money is donated to the Alzheimer's Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research to find a cure for the disease.
Last year, TKE raised more than $23,000, which brings the Bucknell chapter's contribution to more than $210,000 in the past eight years, according to co-chair Christopher Rung, a junior majoring in computer science and engineering.
"We have raised more money for the association in the past five years than any other TKE chapter in the nation, which I think is incredible," said Rung, who will be running the last leg of the run to the White House.