Zeta Tau Alpha has campus thinking pink

By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
Arts & Entertainment Assistant

ZTA kicks off the week of awareness with a pink balloon release to remember those who have battled breast cancer. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Acebal)
ZTA kicks off the week of awareness with a pink balloon release to remember those who have battled breast cancer. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Acebal)

Seeing Pink? The Zeta Tau Alpha women’s fraternity held its annual Pink Out Week from Sunday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 5, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.

Senior Meghan Coppinger, ZTA’s vice president of Programming, headed the week with events on and off campus. The Pink Out Week committee begins planning in June to create new events and bring back favorite activities from year to year. The theme for 2014 was “Never Back Down,” and the students of ZTA wanted the campus to know that women are a strong enough to battle any hurdle in their way, especially with the support of their community. Breast cancer awareness is the national philanthropy of Zeta Tau Alpha, and all of the proceeds from the week went toward the Zeta Tau Alpha Foundation.

“Fighting breast cancer is a personal passion of mine,” Coppinger said. “I could talk about the importance of research all day.”

The week kicked off with a balloon release on Sunday, Sept. 28, to honor those with breast cancer. The event is a personal one for the community, featuring two keynote speakers. The fountain in the Science Complex was turned pink for cause, and soon, the rest of the campus would be sporting the color.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. The sister’s of Zeta Tau Alpha worked to raise awareness among women and stressed the importance of early detection.

At every event of the week, T-shirts were sold for $10 featuring the slogan “Never Back Down,” in order to give students a chance to wear their pride for the cause. On Monday, Sept. 29, Cosmo Bleu Salon and Upper Cuts Barber Shop offered haircuts for $10 and pink hair extensions for $5 in the Brower Student Center.

“The hair extensions should last a long time for everyone that gets one, and I hope they work as a reminder throughout the month,” junior history and secondary education major Linda Chamesian said.

On Tuesday, Sept. 30, the women’s fraternity held two events. Taking over Alumni Grove, ZTA pledged that to any student who donated to the cause, they would receive a strawberry smoothie donated by Smoothie King.

“All we asked for was at least a penny, and it was amazing to see how much students would donate,” Coppinger said. “One boy even donated $20, which is way more than we ever expected. It’s exciting to see organizations campus-wide come out and support us.”

On Tuesday night, Sept. 30, ZTA held Pink Out at Piccolo’s. Piccolo’s, in turn, donated 10 percent of every bill that had a ZTA flyer attached to it.

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, ZTA and the College community came out to Breast Cancer Basics featuring two of the College’s professors. Associate professor of biology Matthew Wund spoke on behalf of the Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation. The foundation is named in memory of his sister, who passed away from breast cancer 10 years ago. The foundation provides financial assistance directly to breast cancer patients for wigs, hospital parking, family hotel stays and transportation. The foundation looks to focus on treatment and recovery over financial difficulties.

“My sister says that dealing with breast cancer is more than just treatment,” Wund said. “We want to help patients keep their dignity during their treatment.”

ZTA has supported many of the Christina S. Walsh Breast Cancer Foundation events, and Wund gave them a special thank you, noting that when he receives thank you letters, they’re thanking ZTA, too.

Then, assistant professor of nursing Sharon Bryne set up a game of Breast Cancer Jeopardy to get everyone engaged while learning about the disease. With topics including Epidemiology/Demographics, Risk Factors, Prevention, Early Detection and Signs and Characteristics, all of the bases of breast cancer basics were covered. The audience members learned when they should start being tested for breast cancer based on their family history and how to reduce their risk of getting cancer.

“Since one in eight women will get breast cancer, it was cool to see how vital it is to look after yourself and lifestyle,” sophomore biology major Sandra Eisen said after playing Breast Cancer Basics.

Thursday and Friday of Pink Out Week were active events for the community. Kick Out Breast Cancer was co-sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer and honed in on the supportive, female theme of the week. The kickboxing class was intended to show women a way to get into a healthy lifestyle that would reduce their risk of cancer. Then on Friday, Strike Out breast cancer at Slocum’s featured a bowling tournament as fun, friendly competition to raise money.

Rounding out the week was Dine to Donate at Deli on a Bagel on Saturday, Oct. 4. Deli on a Bagel also gave 10 percent of every bill presented with a flyer back to Breast Cancer research. On Sunday, Oct. 5, Zeta Tau Alpha took part in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The ZTA members were all excited to take part in the walk to meet fighters and survivors, whom they had worked so hard to support through their charitable efforts.

At the final count of the week, ZTA raised just under $5,000 goal and have yet to count contributions from online donations or T-shirt sales as they continue to sell until the end of the month.

“We are so thankful that we raised such a large amount of money in such a short time. It blows me away,” Coppinger said. “We couldn’t have done it without the support of our campus community.”