The Racers’ bid for Rokerthon

Murray State’s potential record-breaking spotlight

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

To enter Murray State in the Rokerthon 3 contest, The News welcomes Racernation to star in a video next week to be sent to Today Show weatherman Al Roker.

The video will be shot Tuesday Feb. 21 at 2:30 p.m. in the Quad. All community members, students and alumni are encouraged to attend in their Murray State gear.

The mission of Rokerthon 3: Storming Into The Madness is to travel to college campuses around the country to break world records with Al Roker and the help of college students.

To enter, colleges must submit a one minute video featuring school spirit and a suggestion of what Guinness World Record Roker should break at the school. Entries are due Feb. 24.

According to the Today Show, Rokerthon isn’t a new endeavor for Roker. By broadcasting a live weather report for 34 hours in 2014, he set the Guinness World Record for the longest uninterrupted live weather broadcast and encouraged support for United Service Organizations.

Rokerthon 2 in 2015 celebrated Roker’s visit to all 50 states in one week to broadcast America’s weather forecast and support Feeding America.

Stephanie Elder Anderson, journalism instructor, and Leigh Wright, assistant professor of journalism, are spearheading the project along with Shawn Touney, Murray State Director of Communication, Jeremy McKeel, Manager of Digital Media Services, and several journalism students.

“It’s an opportunity for our journalism students to use their talents to work on this video,” Elder Anderson said. “We want it to be student-based, but the whole community is encouraged to participate.”

For the video content, Elder Anderson and Wright suggested highlighting school spirit and the uniqueness of the Shoe Tree. As the tradition goes, if a student meets his or her spouse at Murray State, they are encouraged to hang a pair of shoes on the Shoe Tree in the Quad.

Elder Anderson said in light of the tradition, she and her husband came up with setting a record for the most shoes donated to a specific cause.

“MSU is known for the shoe tree, so we wanted to find a way to tie into the folklore of the shoe tree,” Wright said. “We decided that it would be a great idea to have people come and donate shoes.”

If Roker does come to Murray State, a drive will be held to benefit Soles4Souls and other charities in the community.

According to their website, Soles4Souls is a nonprofit based in Nashville, Tennessee, existing to disrupt the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.

“Shoes are something that we take for granted,” Wright said. “Sometimes for a child, not having shoes can be a big hinderance for school.”

Wright said three students will be key players in the video-making process: Abby Siegel, senior from Louisville, Kentucky, as scriptwriter, and Emily Hancock, sophomore from Bumpus Mills, Tennessee, and John Morris, senior from Nashville, Tennessee, as on-air talent. Social media coordinators are Lauren Campbell, sophomore from Owensboro, Kentucky, and Ashley Traylor, sophomore from Birmingham, Alabama.

I’ve been impressed by the students and faculty involved for seeing the idea, collaborating and moving forward with plans and preparations for this contest,” Touney said.

Hancock said participating in the video is a way for students to show their love for the small-town college.

“This is a perfect way for the students to become more involved and be placed on television. What’s not to love about that?” Hancock said. “We want the students to come out because Murray State is our campus.”

As a television production major, Hancock said being a part of the video making process will be a good way to practice on her on-air talent and help her find a job in the future.

Morris said student involvement in the video will show the life at Murray State.

“We are the best advocates and embody the culture here,” Morris said.

Roker has not announced when winners will be chosen or when Rokerthon 3 will take place.