Through Oct. 6: Virtual 5K raises funds for research

By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education

Simon LicenPULLMAN, Wash. – A globetrotting Washington State University researcher’s colleagues in Europe will join others in supporting his work through a 5K fundraiser – and they won’t even have to leave home.

The College of Education has will host its second annual Virtual 5K Run for Research through Oct. 6. This year, it will benefit Simon Licen, a Slovenian whose research takes him all over Europe.

“Being chosen as this year’s beneficiary is a huge vote of confidence,” he said. “I am grateful to the college for recognizing the potential of my research and giving me the opportunity to further it.”

He said he plans to use the funds to compensate student assistants.

About the virtual 5K

In a virtual race, participants may run, walk, bike, swim or elliptical their way to 3.1 miles. They can do it wherever and whenever they want. They can do it in one day, or over several days.

The registration deadline for the WSU virtual 5K is Aug. 29. It costs $25, plus $5 to ship a T-shirt. The college will mail registration packets on Sept. 15. They will include bibs, Cougar tattoos and T-shirts. Find more details at

“Last year’s run brought so many people together,” said the college’s development director Andrea Farmer, whose team organizes the event. “We loved seeing the photos from multigenerational runs, runs with friends and those who got really creative. We hope to build on that success, and keep the momentum moving for years to come.”

Researching the impact of sports

Licen and FIBA
Licen, center, with colleagues from the International Basketball Federation.

Licen studies journalism, broadcasting and social media in sports. He is beginning research on how major sporting events impact the nations and communities that host the events.

“Preliminary analyses showed people ascribe to such events a number of positive effects,” he said. “However, those are quick to fade. We are now trying to determine what strategies organizers should use to convert them into a long-term positive legacy.

“I am looking at how organizers used social media to understand what does or does not work when using new media to engage with fans and the public,” he said.

Expanding global reach

A member of the board of directors of the International Association for Communication and Sport, Licen researches negotiation of identity through the media, and the media in international, post-socialist and post-colonial societies.

Because his research has an international focus, he said he has received interest in the virtual 5K from friends and colleagues in Europe.

“This virtual initiative seems the perfect opportunity to bring an already interconnected world a bit closer through science and sports,” he said.


Amy Cox, program coordinator, WSU College of Education, 509-335-7843,