The Undie Run has taken place every year since 2008, but this year's edition of the outrageous event may not happen if organizers can't raise $15,000 in the next nine days.
Hannah Nunez, an Undie Run spokesperson, says that due to budget shortfalls by ASU's Undergraduate Student Government (which has helped support the event financially in previous years) and the withdrawal of a few sponsors, organizers are scrambling for enough money to ensure that students can stage their annual half-naked scamper around campus on April 24.
"The event is definitely in danger [of not happening]. We need to raise $15,000 by the end of the month. Period," Nunez says. "We're pretty much worried, but we have faith that we're going to find enough money somehow. It's just a matter of where we find the donations and where we find the sponsors for it.
Each year's edition of the Undie Run has seen more and more students participating. More than 15,000 turned out in 2010 while approximately 20,000 were involved last year. The ever-increasing crowd has been both a blessing and a curse for the event.
But while more people has meant more donations to charity -- students bring non-perishable food items and remove their clothing at the beginning of the run, both of which are collected and given to local non-profit organizations - its also meant more security has to be hired per requirements from ASU officials and the City of Tempe.
Which means more of the Undie Run budget - which also covers barricades, portable toilets, live entertainment at the end of the run - has to pay for security to keep the peace and make sure the event doesn't get out of hand (like when a fight broke out last year).
"It takes a lot of money to produce this sort of event for free," Nunez says. "We just want to make sure it's a safe event. You never know what could happen when you have 20,000 college students in one area like that, so it's just for safety precautions having security. We just want to keep it as safe for students as possible."
So far, organizers have raised $1,296 via crowd financing site Fundly, which Nunez says is "disappointing." It also hasn't helped that a large number of ASU students are out of town for spring break this week.
"Were just not getting as huge a response as we'd hoped," she says.
The Undie Run's financial nightmare is due in part to a smaller amount of funding from ASU's Undergraduate Student Government this year, which had to slash its contribution by $10,000 due to budget shortfalls, Nunez says.
"Because of funding they've had to cut, they had to cut $10,000 from what they usually donated, which is part of the reason it put us in this hole. When you take back that 10k, suddenly we're short. We were banking on that money," she says. "And several sponsors that we've had in the past decided not to run with us again. Its not because they don't like us any more but because they're restructuring."
Nunez says organizers will be busy over the next nine days urging people to donate and searching for sponsors. And, in all likelihood, keeping their fingers crossed.
"This is one of the biggest events at ASU every year," she says. "There's a charity aspect [since] the community counts on all those donations. So we feel like we'd be letting a lot of people down if the event doesn't happen [this year]. So we're under pressure right now."