By Noor Azeem
Going four years strong, the College’s Sigma Kappa sorority held its annual Ultra Violet Week to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association – the sorority’s national philanthropy.
From selling purple ribbons, sunglasses and paper elephants at the Brower Student Center to the car show to which the whole week led up, the Sigma Kappa sisters have been busy arranging everything to make the week of Sept. 8 a success for their charity.
“(Alzheimer’s) is not a very widely known disease. What people don’t know is that it affects more people than breast and prostate cancer combined,” said junior graphic design major and Ultra Violet Week chair Taylor Timpson.
As the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, it does seem like Alzheimer’s is often overlooked in the press and media.
“It’s a good cause, and I’m glad that I’m a part of it,” Timpson said.
To kick off the first of the Ultra Violet Week events, Rose Berger from the Alzheimer’s Association came to speak at the College, aiming to educate the masses about Alzheimer’s and drive home the importance of donating to the cause.
A disease that can’t be prevented or cured, Alzheimer’s research has about $1 million in funding for research to find cures and preventative treatments or screenings. That number, while it might seem like quite a bit of money at first glance, is “a drop in the bucket” compared to the billions of dollars other organizations have to research diseases, according to Berger.
“Society’s going to be paying for it,” she said, referencing the number of people aging into the disease.
After giving a presentation on the signs, symptoms and mechanics of Alzheimer’s, which included many videos of firsthand accounts of those living with the disease – both those afflicted and caregivers – and ways donations can help research by funding things like clinical trials, support groups and 24-hour helplines, Berger was open to speaking to attendees after the event if they had any more questions.
As a geriatric social worker for 30 years, she’s been around familiar with the cause.
“I appreciate the fact that the sorority and younger people are really supporting our effort and that people are starting young,” she said.
Members of Sigma Kappa all were proud of the efforts the sorority made to ensure this year’s Ultra Violet Week was even better than the last few.
“I think it’s improved tremendously,” said president of Sigma Kappa and senior early childhood education and STEM double major Courtney McGovern.
“The facts and figures are more shocking than people would think,” senior chemistry major Amy Solinski said. “I think it’s a really good way to lead to the car show, which is where we get the most funds.”
Two days after the presentation by Rose Berger, the sorority hosted a Memory Game show. Participants put their knowledge of various trivia to the test, along with questions about the basic facts of Alzheimer’s disease.
Attendees got to learn more about the disease while hopefully realizing exactly how much their memories destabilize with age, how losing simple abilities relating to memories can affect your life and how the severity of suffering brought to those with Alzheimer’s goes unnoticed on the national stage.
The final event of the week, the car show, closed off two parking lots, filling them with vintage cars of all colors, shapes and sizes. Tables from various other fraternities and sororities decorated the perimeter, all selling items that would raise money for the cause.
Sophomore English and communication studies double major Brooke Schmidt came to the car show because she “love(s) old cars and thought there would be fried Oreos.” Amanda Bowsky, a sophomore math major “wanted to see all the cars and support Sigma Kappa and Alzheimer’s awareness.”
People of all ages and interest came out to support the charity and enjoy the car show, which was a big event but was pulled together without a hitch.
“It’s always stressful, especially with an outdoor event, but thankfully everything worked out smoothly,” according to Megan Esposito, a sophomore elementary education and i-STEM double major.
Proud owners collected their awards for Best of Show, Best Paint, Most Memorable and People’s Choice for cars like a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 1955 Plymouth Savoy.
“It was really fun and I can’t wait until next year,” said deaf education and history double major Faith Hardy.
The car show came to a close as the car owners revved up their engines and sped away, leading the way to an even bigger and better Ultra Violet Week next year.