Dean Challenges SOMers for Charity
Dean Sharon Oster sent out the challenge to MBA students: Beat her in a 5k race and she’d donate $10 per student to charity.
Her request to SOM students to run with her in the Christopher Martin’s Christmas Run for the Children drew a few score from both of the full-time MBA classes, helping the school raise several hundred dollars to buy needy children toys for the holidays. “There was considerable trash talking, and much good will,” Oster wrote in an email after the race, noting that since 32 students finished with better times than her, she would donate an extra $320. Joshua Bekenstein, a managing director at Bain Capital LLC and a member of the SOM Board of Advisors, agreed to match Oster’s contribution. "During the race I noticed a number of students trying to draft off of me, given my speed."
The race, on December 14, is an annual event in New Haven, a chance for people from around the region to help children during the holiday season. For SOM students, the run came just days before finals, a time of stress and late-night study sessions. "Getting out in the community to serve our neighbors while having a good time together offered some needed respite," said Matt Kopac ’09, the student body president, who according to Oster’s challenge had to donate $5 to the cause since she beat him. "It was also reflective of the SOM culture, where students, faculty and staff consistently come together to support each other and make a positive contribution."
For Weldon Johnson ’10, the race was more than just a way to blow off some steam while helping a good cause. Johnson had been a competitive long-distance runner, winning the Marine Corps Marathon in 1998 and finishing fourth in the 10,000 meters in the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships. But injuries have greatly limited his time on the road. Coming out of "retirement" for the race, Johnson finished 18th out of nearly 1,500 runners. "I'm glad the dean motivated me enough to get out there and race again. Running is something I love," Johnson said. "It's a great SOM event and New Haven event and I'm glad the dean used it as her first challenge to get people involved with the New Haven community."