By Julia Pugliese
Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) hosted their annual Pink Out Week to spread awareness and provide education about breast cancer throughout the week of Sunday, Sept. 27, hosting different events on and off campus to raise money for their national philanthropy, Breast Cancer Education and Awareness.
Pink bagels were sold at Deli on a Bagel in Pennington, and 10 percent of the bill went toward their Pink Out Week goal. They also sponsored an Instagram contest for people to enter to win a $25 Deli on a Bagel gift card
“Our goal is to do as much during this whole week to promote awareness as we can,” said Hope Peraria, a senior communications studies major and sister of ZTA.
To Peraria and her sisters, making Pink Out Week a success is a major goal for the sorority each year.
“We really do care about our philanthropy,” said Patricia Wilcox, a sophomore English secondary education major and member of ZTA. “And it really shows.”
To kick off Pink Out Week, a ceremony called Bubbles for Breast Cancer was held in the Science Complex. People could buy bubbles, ribbons, T-shirts and pink lemonade. People who bought ribbons wrote down memories, wishes and inspirational messages and tied them to the trees nearby.
“This event is very ceremonial to kind of remember those that we lost and to have hope for those affected by breast cancer,” Peraria said.
Early childhood education and English double major and ZTA sister Meggie Martino, along with her mother, shared their personal experiences with breast cancer. Martino’s mother will be a breast cancer survivor of five years this November, which is amazing, according to her daughter.
Those who had purchased bubbles participated in the ceremonial bubble release after people spoke. In the past, balloons were released into the sky, this year, however, ZTA chose to use bubbles.
“The bubbles symbolize releasing worries and letting go of grief and celebrating life,” Peraria said.
On Monday, Sept. 28, the owner of Upper Cuts Barber Shop provided haircuts for $10 and the sisters of ZTA gave out pink hair extensions for $5 in the Brower Student Center. That same night, ZTA hosted a Pink Party where free pink cupcakes, donated by Sodexo, were given out along with ZTA’s Think Pink ribbons, in order to promote breast cancer awareness.
All day Monday, Sept. 28, people could grab some food at Applebee’s and a percentage of their bill would also go toward the cause.
“The cool thing about education and awareness is our money goes to research studies,” Peraria said. “However, a lot of the time, research studies can be inconclusive. With more donations, more studies are conducted so we know that our donations are impactful.”
On Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Alumni Grove students could attend Pink Parlor. Here, for any donation made to ZTA’s philanthropy, a student could enjoy a strawberry smoothie donated from Smoothie King in Hamilton.
The following night, a representative from Bright Pink, ZTA’s national partner, held an educational workshop called Brighten Up. The workshop, about the importance of breast and ovarian health, provided women with tools to use in order to assess their risk. Bright Pink is the only national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.
“Bright Pink was founded when a woman in her 20s found out she had the BRCA gene. Everyone told her she just had to wait to find out if she would have cancer, but she decided that that wasn’t really a good method,” Peraria said. “Bright Pink tailors their info for women in their 20s because that’s the age the BRCA gene affects. So it’s a really cool education piece for college students.”
ZTA continued their goal of educating young women by demonstrating how to give a self-breast exam. Nursing students in the sorority gave students information they needed and also showed the proper way to go about the exam.
“The School of Nursing allowed our Zeta Tau Alpha nursing students to demonstrate how to perform a self-breast exam, and how to distinguish between cancerous and non-cancerous lumps using breast mannequins that the school provided,” senior marketing major and ZTA President Theresa Holzheimer said.
Students that attended thought it was informative and definitely felt they learned something that night.
“I loved the session they had about breast cancer awareness and women’s health — it really helped me to learn about the signs and symptoms,” freshman nursing major Kayla Keane said.
ZTA also partnered with Colleges Against Cancer to hold a kickboxing course instructed by a member of Kappa Delta, on Thursday, Oct. 1.
This course stressed the importance of the link between physical activity and a decreased risk for breast cancer, Holzheimer said.
“Another aspect of keeping yourself healthy and making yourself not susceptible to any cancer is staying fit,” Peraria said.
To end Pink Out week, ZTA held their second annual bowling competition, Strike Out Cancer, at Slocum’s Bowling Center. Members of Greek life and sports teams played against one another for fun and to raise awareness.
The entire week worked to raise money and spread education about breast cancer.
“The planning for Pink Out Week begins as early as May,” Holzheimer said. “Sisters get extremely involved throughout the week as our philanthropy is a major reason they are so dedicated to our chapter. Some sisters volunteer to help plan and coordinate events, others volunteer at various small-scale events, and our entire chapter supports our largest events throughout the week.”