(Photo/Contributed by Emmie Haas)
Troy women show their support for wounded warriors in 4-mile trek
After the annual success of Walk Hard, a staple event within the Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) organization that raises money for wounded veterans, the organization thought it was time to get more people involved.
Girls Walk Harder, a twist on the ATO event, was finally put into the works by some ATO brothers.
Fate Calton, a junior psychology major from Eufala, Alabama, served at the director of Girls Walk Harder 2020 and used a lot of the experience he gained as an assistant for Walk Hard 2019 to plan and organize this event.
“I learned a lot about planning and the organization that goes into making sure the ‘walk’ runs smoothly,” Calton said. “With that being said, this is our first time doing Girls Walk Harder, so we took the same approach as we would the normal walk but fit the entire experience into one afternoon.
“One huge thing we did was drive around Troy to figure out the route we were going to have the girls walk. We wanted to make sure it was a good distance while being safe at the same time.”
Joshua Marvin, a junior communications major from Alabaster, Alabama, was the assistant director and worked with Calton to orchestrate the event.
“This event has been an answer to a long-time cry of female friends of many ATOs,” Marvin said. “Our friends from all over Troy have expressed, for years now, how much they would love to experience a taste of Walk Hard. Fate and I decided this was the year to make it happen.”
Marvin said that “creating hype” for the event was one of the easiest aspects of organizing it.
“We had 49 girls sign up to walk, which blew our expectations out of the water,” Marvin said. “The day we announced and released graphics, I had my phone off during class, and when I got out, my phone had completely blown up with notifications, texts, questions and excited reactions about the event.
“I had to put my phone on airplane mode for a second to process how we got that strong of a reaction so fast.”
Marvin also said that some ATO alumni contacted them to tell them how glad they were to finally see others try their hand at Walk Hard.
One of the participants was Camryn May, a senior hospitality management major from Panama City, Florida, who was joined by nine other Chi Omega sisters.
“I was initially nervous about the walk,” May said. “When I envisioned Girls Walk Harder in the weeks leading up to the event, I imagined 30 girls walking around campus, but the true result was something spectacular.”
Starting at 4 p.m. on the university’s main quad, the walk continued for four miles around the perimeter of the city and ended in Troy’s Downtown Square.
“All of the participants and the brothers who walked alongside us were so encouraging, and we laughed and were able to form great relationships during the 4-mile walk,” May said.
With checkpoints along the way to ensure the walkers were hydrated, the group was able to walk into the Troy’s downtown square, encouraged by those in the community to await the announcement of 2020 Miss Walk Hard.
“The energy in the Square was electrifying,” May said. “With people from every organization there to cheer us on and congratulate us on a job well done.
“In the end, Miss Walk Hard was crowned, and all of the girls got to do the ATO chant with the brothers.”
Calton said that the most rewarding part was getting to see all of the girls excited about the event.
“Having events like this are very important to have on campus,” Calton explained. “With Walk Hard being an ATO brother-exclusive event, we were able to share a small bit of that experience with these amazing women.”
Though rain was a concern at first, the weather held out, and the event went just as planned, and ATO looks forward to putting the event together again next year.
“Next year, we want to do Girls Walk Harder all over again,” Marvin said. “Something I love about Walk Hard is how simple it is to be a part of.
“Throughout the years, we have seen it bind so many people and unite so many corners of our campus and our state together in a way that is unrivaled.”
Anyone interested in Walk Hard or Girls Walk Harder events should contact ATO.
“Troy Events such as Girls Walk Harder are vital to the livelihood of Troy University and allows students from different realms of campus to come together,” May said. “This event was not only fun, but was a great way to meet different people and raise money for a worthy cause.”