Mary Grace von Thron, Campus Carrier news editor
On Apr. 13, Berry hosted the fourth annual “It’s Go Time” Fun Run in honor of David Shankles, a member of the Berry class of 2020 who passed away unexpectedly in 2017.
The fun run serves as a fundraiser for the David Shankles Emergency Relief Fund, which helps students who are facing crisis and need immediate financial assistance.
The name of the run, “It’s Go Time” came from a phrase that Shankles often said after his watch broke. Instead of purchasing a new watch, Shankles put a piece of paper over his watch with the word “go” on it and told people it was “go time” when asked what time it was.
Bailey Dingley, a member of the class of 2020, was the sophomore class president the year that Shankles died. Dingley said that she and other members of SGA spent a lot of time brainstorming and thinking about how they could honor Shankles’s legacy in the years to come.
“I had a team who really wanted to do something to honor him,” Dingley said. “It was really important for us to do that in a way that honored him and wasn’t necessarily something like a bench or a plaque. We wanted a way that would really honor his memory and his time at Berry.”
After much contemplation, Dingley and others felt that renaming the Berry student emergency relief fund in Shankles name was the best way to honor Shankles memory and to also tie the Berry community into it.
Chaplain Jonathan Huggins said that the relief fund has helped students in many different ways.
“Dozens of students every year find themselves in positions where they can benefit from [the emergency relief fund,” Huggins said. “Sometimes it’s been used to help with medications, glasses, things like that.”
The emergency relief fund has also been used for airfare or gas money when a student needs to return home for a family emergency.
Huggins also said that the emergency relief fund has been extremely beneficial this past year, since more students than usual have needed emergency assistance due to hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some students, when they went home, were in situations where their income was badly affected and needed some assistance based on their home situation,” Huggins said.
SGA secretary, sophomore Joanna Clark, said that there were about 45 participants who came to run. The number of participants were a little bit lower than they were in past years because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Berry’s visitor policy.
“COVID-19 prevented a lot of graduates from the class of 2020 to be able to travel to Berry and participate in the fun run as they usually do,” Clark said.
This year’s graduating class of 2021 were first semester-freshmen when Shankles passed away. Even though the number of current students who knew Shankles personally is dwindling, Clark, Dingley and Huggins hope that Shankles’ legacy is kept alive for generations to come.
“I think people who didn’t know David are still passionate about the fun run and are still passionate about keeping his legacy alive,” Clark said.
Dingley hopes that people remember Shankles’ life and how he was a big part of the Berry community.
“I just hope that the fun run continues on and I hope people continue to donate towards the emergency relief fund,” Dingley said. “I hope people remember what a light he was at Berry College and how he was a big part of our community and how the Berry community really, really wants to celebrate his life. we want to remember him and remember his life and his story at Berry.”