CHARLESTON – After one “crazy” year, a local attorney still is loving her other job that helps promote school spirit at colleges all over the country.
Last year, Tonya Shuler and her husband started Color My College, which she says combines college loyalty and exercise into “the ultimate celebration of school spirit.” Shuler is an associate attorney at Moore & Biser in South Charleston.
“The first year has been crazy, but it’s been a lot of fun,” Shuler said while in Dover, Del., preparing for a Sept. 19 event at Delaware State University. “We grew so much between our fall semester and spring semester as far as attendance and what we learned. We now have that first year of races under our belts, and we’ve learned the dos and don’ts.
“We’ve had a blast. It’s been busy, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Color My College is a 5K race like other color runs. But at these events, the colors thrown on the runners are of the school colors at each university that hosts. Proceeds also help local charities at each event.
Shuler said she and her husband Daniel have three races set up for this fall, including one at Marshall University.
“And we’ve already scheduled three more for the spring,” she said. “We’ve learned that’s about as much as we can handle each semester. We both have full-time jobs as well.”
Shuler said she’s happy with how Color My College is growing.
“We didn’t have any expectations, to be honest,” she said. “We were going into it blind. But, everything’s going well. And, we want to see it continue to grow.”
She said coordinating the events does mean a lot of travel, especially with full-time jobs and a family. She and Daniel have three-year-old triplets.
“We have it down to where we are able to get everything we need to get done in one week at each location,” Shuler said. “We come up midweek and do some things. Then, we’re on location on campus on Friday to get people registered and to get them excited and pick up t-shrits, check in, etc.”
Shuler said she’s excited to visit some of the locations that hosted events last year for a second time.
“That’s exciting to be going back to the places we were before,” she said. “We can fix any bugs we might have had before, but we know they like what we did enough to invite us back.
“For example, our first event ever last fall was at East Carolina. And now, they’re our last event this fall. In terms of promotion, having been there already, it’s amazing the difference about how many people know about our event and are signing up already. We have almost as many signed up now six weeks out as we did attend the event last year.”
Color My College has return visits to Ole Miss and Auburn this spring.
Shuler said she’s lucky in that the same crew that has helped from the beginning with the events.
“It’s a crew of about a dozen people,” she said. “Friends and family from West Virginia. They come with us to all of the events. Not every person can make every event, but we make it work. We’re all good friends, so we have a good time wherever we go. And, we always try to take some time to enjoy ourselves and see the sights.”
Shuler is excited about bring Color My College to Marshall, which is both her and her husband’s alma mater. That event is scheduled for Oct. 18.
“Not only did I go to school there, but we’re part of Marshall’s homecoming week,” she said. “It’s the first official homecoming week event. It’s going to be great getting a lot of people excited about Marshall and homecoming week.”
She also is excited to have the chance to give friends and family in the Tri-State area a chance to experience an event.
“At Marshall, it’ll be great because the kids will be able to come,” Shuler said. “Plus, it’s home. We’re from here. We are hoping a lot of friends and family come out, even if they just want to see what we’ve been up to.
We’re from here. Hoping a lot of friends and family come out, even if they just want to see what we have been up to.”
For more information about the events, visit www.colormycollege.com or the group’s Facebook page.