More than 400 Taylor University students traveled to the local Marathon gas station for the yearly “Polar Pops Run” on Sunday, Aug. 27.
The event involves students lining up to buy soft drinks and snacks the Sunday night before classes begin. Students from multiple dorms partake in the event annually.
Senior Claire Dahlin, the PA on 2nd North English Hall, said the event is useful for fostering intentional community and giving new students an opportunity to meet other students.
“It was fun getting to walk with (the students) and getting to know them a little bit better,” Dahlin said. “We didn’t have anything planned to do after, but then I had people coming up to me and asking, ‘What were we going to do afterward?’ It was nice because then we got to hang out afterwards a little bit.”
The event is among multiple campus-wide traditions designed to foster community, including “Walk and Talk” events, various initiations and other gatherings.
Sophomore Abbie Cormier, a PA on 4th Bergwall Hall, combined her floor’s “Walk and Talk” — an event where students from a wing or floor, meet up with their brother or sister floor to walk and answer questions about each other — with the trip to the Marathon on that weekend’s Friday instead of Sunday.
“They get to know not only the people that they’re going to be living with on the floor but people they’re going to be doing events with, like their bro/sis,” Cormier said.
Throughout this year’s event on Sunday, students’ purchases boosted the sales of the Marathon gas station by more than five times the normal revenue for a day, Palwinder “Paul” Singh, the store’s current general manager, said. To prepare for the event, Singh ensures he has extra staff throughout the day.
Singh also expressed his thanks to the students who came to the store and confirmed they are welcome to return next year.
The first instance of the event occurred in 2012 when the store — then a Circle K location — was facing the threat of shutdown due to a lack of sales. News of the store’s potential shutdown reached students at Taylor, who decided to gather together for a “Save the Store” campaign.
That Sunday before classes, more than 1,200 students traveled to the store to make their purchases and show support for the store. Mike Hicks was the owner of the store at the time.
Hicks sold the store to Baljinder “Balli” Singh later in 2012, who sold the store in 2019. Paul Singh was hired to be the general manager in 2019. The store became a Marathon location in 2012.
Skip Trudeau, Taylor’s vice president for student development and intercollegiate athletics, praised the event and the Taylor community.
“My hope is that we’re good neighbors to the town, and vice versa,” Trudeau said. “This is a positive town-gown relationship, so I hope many students can and do participate (in the event) and that they do so respectfully.”
Next year, the event is expected to occur Sunday, Aug. 25, 2024.