Colleges against cancer
November 1, 2010 —
For students such as elementary education junior Stephanie Roe, the call to raise cancer awareness hits close to home.
While Relay for Life is a popular cancer awareness effort at SVSU, Colleges Against Cancer is a new RSO that promotes year-round cancer awareness.
After Roe’s uncle died at a young age from colon cancer, she knew she needed to be a part of an organization in his honor.
“It had a really big impact on me and my family,” said Roe. “I want to help spread awareness to students about cancer. Anything that I can do to help make a change, or bring awareness to it, I am more than willing to do.”
Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) works hand-in-hand with the American Cancer Society (ACS) by volunteering for its events and promoting the ideas and services that ACS offers. CAC is a national organization of students, faculty and staff dedicated to fighting cancer. There are 25 members in the SVSU chapter, and anyone is welcome to join.
SVSU is one of the many universities that are part of Colleges Against Cancer.
“There are several other chapters at numerous universities throughout Michigan and the United States,” said Nikki VanSumeran, Health Science and Communications fifth year and CAC President. “All of the different chapters work together in the sense that we bounce ideas off of each other and see what has worked best for different schools. From there, we try to implement those programs on our own campus.”
CAC is composed of four committees: advocacy, survivorship, cancer education and Relay for Life.
While Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s most well-know fundraiser, it is only one part of CAC’s objectives.
“Relay for Life may promote cancer awareness for a specific time frame, but Colleges Against Cancer attempts to advocate cancer throughout the entire year,” said VanSumeren.
CAC is planning a program for The Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 18. VanSumeren said the group is very excited to put this on for the students.
“The programs are to educate and make people aware of a specific type of cancer or just cancer in general,” said VanSumeren.
Aside from the Relay for Life committee, other committees serve to help promote other aspects of cancer awareness.
“Advocacy is the political aspect of CAC,” said VanSumeren. “This committee will work with legislation at local, state and federal levels in attempts to change laws, policies and legislation.”
The survivorship committee will focus on reaching out to survivors on campus as well as off campus in the local community by sending cards or visiting hospitals.
“Our hopes are to get involved in a variety of activities as well as making attempts to get to know the survivors on a personal level,” said VanSumeren.
Ashlee Hansinger, a social work, psychology and sociology junior, had been involved in Relay for Life before, but wanted to try something different by joining CAC’s Cancer Education Committee. “I hope to help educate the campus of SVSU on the different ‘ancers of the month,” said Hansinger. “I am passionate about not only finding a cure for cancer, but also spreading cancer awareness.”
College of Education Administrative Secretary Tammy Elliott was asked to be team captain for Relay for Life after several people she knew had been diagnosed with cancer. After participating in Relay for many years, Elliot was asked by a member of the ASC if she would consider becoming the adviser for CAC.
While the group is new this year, the members of CAC hope that the organization will grow and collaborate with other RSO’s to make an impact on the SVSU campus.
“Everyone has somehow been touched by cancer,” said Elliott. “I would like to see an activity every month of the year. I think this organization has a lot of potential and that every student, faculty and staff member of campus could be involved in some way.”
Colleges Against Cancer meets every other Sunday in Pioneer 240 at 7:30 p.m. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. The next meeting is Nov. 7.