By Elise Schoening
A staggering five million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, a fatal disease that has proven to be the sixth leading cause of death. Now the sisters of Sigma Kappa here at the College are doing everything they can to lower that number.
Alzheimer’s is a personal cause for many of the group’s members. In fact, 25 of the Sigma Kappa sisters know someone who has been affected by the disease, junior criminology major Angela Cifelli said.
“It impacts a lot of sisters here,” Cifelli explained. “We’ve been planning this since April. Everyone’s been really good about pitching in and coming together for this.”
From Monday, Sept. 8, to Sunday, Sept. 13, Sigma Kappa hosted its annual Ultra Violet Week aimed to raise awareness for the crippling disease and also to raise funds for research towards finding a cure.
Throughout the week, the Sigma Kappa sisters planned a number of fundraising events to appeal to everyone on campus. The variety of events provided students with the opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer’s and donate to the cause.
Sigma Kappa’s Ultra Violet Week has been around since 2012, although the events scheduled have varied slightly with each year. This year they introduced a bake sale and a volleyball tournament, and both proved to be quite successful.
They kicked off the week with guest speaker Rosa Berger, who provided an informational lecture about Alzheimer’s. There was also an ice cream fundraiser at the local Purple Cow Ice Cream shop in Lawrenceville, N.J. Ten percent of the proceeds raised between six and nine p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9, were donated to the Sigma Kappa foundation for Alzheimer’s.
Another highlight of the week was the Media Memory Game Show, hosted in the Decker Hall Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 10. Over 100 people packed into the room to test their memory of pop culture, rap lyrics and celebrities. Almost every Greek organization on campus was represented in the room, a number of whom competed in the show.
The Greek organizations on campus have played a significant role in supporting the week and making it such a success. They actively participated in the volleyball tournament and memory game show, in addition to tabling at the car show on Sunday, Sept. 13.
“Our biggest supporters in the college community are always the Greek community,” said junior secondary education and English double major Courtney Kalafsky, who serves as the vice president of Philanthropic Service for the sorority. “Outsiders often think that Greeks are pitted against each other when, in reality, we are each other’s biggest supporters. We all know what it is like to care about a cause, and we understand how much it means to one another to get involved.”
The main fundraiser was the ever-so-popular “Driving Out Alzheimer’s Car Show,” which took place on Sunday, Sept. 13, in the lot beside Loser Hall and was quite the success, with a wide variety of antique and modern cars that were on display.
The car show brought together the College community, as well as members from the local area in an effort to end Alzheimer’s. This is the fourth year that Sigma Kappa has held the car show at the College. According to Hailee Clifton, Sigma Kappa member and health and physical education major, there were a record number of participants at the show this year, such that they were able to raise over $2,000 at that event alone.
The fan favorite was inarguably the charming father-daughter duo that brought matching cars to the event. DeShawun Tye, 36, from Ewing, N.J., arrived at the car show with his 18-month-old daughter, Gabrielle. Her miniature car came fully equipped with headlights and a full-functioning radio, which according to her father “she loves getting in and nae-naeing to.”
This was Tye’s second time attending the Driving Out Alzheimer’s Car Show, but the first time he was able to bring along his daughter, who ended up going home with an award.
“We actually had three shows we were supposed to go to and we chose this one,” Tye said. “I love to try to help out everyone in the community.”
The car show demonstrated the incredible ability of student organizations to bring the College and local communities together to enact positive change. The amount of money and awareness that the sorority was able to raise in under a week is astonishing.
All the proceeds raised at the car show and other events will be donated to the Sigma Kappa Foundation for Alzheimer’s research and treatment. On Sunday, they had raised $4,066 for the week and a total of $5,846 for the year, which is $2,000 more than they were able to raise the year before, according to Kalafsky.
“When 31 percent of your chapter is hurting, you want to do whatever you can to help,” said Clifton, referring to the girls whose family members and friends suffer from Alzheimer’s. “This year’s car show was the most successful car show Sigma Kappa, Kappa Upsilon has ever organized.”