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A Boise State professor plans a grueling 100-mile run to help his students

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Matthew Stallings runs one of the toughest races in the world to support his students. A Boise State University professor wants the community to see how much he goes to help disadvantaged students and inspire others to take action.

Matthew Stallings believes that the Student Hardship Fund is an investment in the community.

When he decided to run an ultramarathon, Stallings wanted it to mean something beyond himself. So he contacted Boise State College of Business and Economics Dean Mark Bannister and asked how he could use race to help his students.

“During COVID, he saw a lot of students who were … struggling financially,” Stallings said. “He thought it would be nice if the business college had our own endowment, an endowment endowment, to help students through those hard times.”

So Stallings took on a goal of $25,000 to create the COBE Student Hardship Fund, which students could access during times of financial hardship. The professor placed a fundraising for PonyUp, Boise State’s crowdfunding site. Since May, he has raised $4,572, which is almost 20% of the goal.

Coleman Benson, one of Stallings’ former students, found the fundraiser on LinkedIn. The dedication he saw in Stallings as a professor didn’t surprise Benson to the project.

“Matt is kind of an extreme athlete,” Benson said. “I think it was really genius of him to take something he’s passionate about and combine it with something else he’s passionate about, helping his students. When I saw this, I couldn’t get it to spread fast enough in my network, and I sacrificed myself.”

A 30-hour 100-mile race is considered one of the most grueling races ever. Covers 28 thousand feet of altitude changes, the race can cause hypothermia, hallucinations and stress fractures.

“When I train, I think about it constantly. I think about the students,” Stallings said. “It would be amazing for me if we reached the goal around the same time as I did to the finish line. When you reach the finish line… you’ve left it all there. I want to feel the same way with a fundraiser.”

Stallings runs about 50 miles a week in preparation for an ultramarathon.

Bannister also donated to the cause.

“Matthew Stallings is a professor at Boise State University who is truly committed to serving students,” said the dean. “I love this project and the idea that Matthew will be running an ultramarathon to raise funds to help students.”

If established, the COBE Student Hardship Fund would provide “financial assistance to students who are at risk of withdrawing from their studies for a semester due to unforeseen temporary financial difficulties resulting from emergency or crisis situations,” Bannister said. The money will be paid out as one-time grants, usually no more than $500. The recipient will not need a refund.

There is no minimum donation for the fundraiser, which ends on November 13, the day after the race. Although Stallings has five years to raise the money, Boise State rules state the fund cannot be used until the $25,000 minimum is met. The professor hopes to make the fund available to students as soon as possible. If the goal is not fulfilled within five years, the money, according to the dean, will be redirected by the BSU fund to a similar cause.

Stallings emphasized his belief that the foundation is more than a donation, it is an investment in the community.

“(Students) will work in the community, providing money through a variety of channels,” Stallings said. “These are our people. It makes sense to help our people who are going to give back… in other ways when they get out of school. That’s how a community is built, that’s how a community flourishes.”

To hear Stallings’ story, watch him train, and donate to his cause, Click here.

Sadie Dittenber

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