People from across the region came to the OCC campus Saturday morning to take part in the Syracuse Heart Walk. The annual event raises money for the American Heart and American Stroke Associations.
All participants were asked to set a fundraising goal of $100. Any participants who reached that amount received an official 2016 Heart Walk t-shirt. The walk route for the event was the loop around campus. Participants could walk between one and three miles in the non-competitive event.
The turnout for the event was great! More than 3,000 people participated and raised over $500,000. The money will be used for lifesaving research, education, training and advocacy programs.
OCC student Ryan Smach knows the pain of heart disease. “I lost two grandparents to heart disease. One died before I was born and the other died when I was three or four. The disease has a very personal connection to me and my family.”
Those losses motivated Smach to take an active role in the American Heart Association’s Syracuse Heart Walk, held March 28 at the SRC Arena. He collected donations from businesses and his family, raising a total of $1,400 in the fight against heart disease. “It was a rewarding experience. I will definitely help raise money again for future local events.” Smach is a 2013 graduate of Fayetteville-Manlius high school who is pursuing a degree in Physical Education and Exercise Science at OCC.
OCC’s Heart Walk team consisted of nearly 300 people and raised more than $5,000 for the American Heart Association. College President Dr. Casey Crabill was the Honorary Team Chair. Professor Amy Klein was the Team Captain. Overall approximately 3,000 people participated and raised $510,000 for the American Heart Association.
OCC’s student honor society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), was honored as one the top 100 chapters out of 1,200 chapters both nationally and internationally. Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1.5 million members. Its co-curricular programs focus upon the Society’s Hallmarks of Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Fellowship.
Onondaga’s PTK chapter, Alpha Zigma Zeta, was singled out because of its students’ efforts in action projects. Its “Chopped” event was a cooking competition and raffle that raised $700 for the Central New York Food Bank, as well as raising awareness about food scarcity.
The members of Alpha Zigma Zeta also showed an outstanding commitment to volunteerism:
Organized “Paige’s Pajamarama,” an on-campus fundraiser for pediatric cancer. Students wore pajamas around campus for a week in exchange for pledge money from generous donors. Students raised nearly $700. The money was donated to the cancer ward at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Assisted at the American Heart Association’s Heart Run on the OCC campus.
Helped with Special Olympics, making posters and cheering on athletes.
Volunteered at the annual National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Walk, a fundraiser for community members battling eating disorders.
Helped set up, run, and clean up the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Walk fundraiser. The event was organized by Walk MS which helps nearly 13,000 people in our community living with MS.
“The dedication and spirit of volunteerism our students showed was remarkable. They can truly say they made our community a better place to live,” said Annie Tuttle, an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Chapter Advisor for PTK at OCC.
Greg Guevara, a General Studies major from Weedsport, will start the 2014-15 academic year as president of OCC’s PTK chapter. He has high goals for himself and his fellow members. “We want to continue our momentum and show the community it can depend on us to help with volunteerism and fundraising. We want organizations to automatically think of us when they are looking for assistance.”
When you support Onondaga Community College, you are making a statement that you believe in the importance of quality affordable education for everyone. You are creating new opportunities and new beginnings for students and our greater community.