Members of Rutgers-Camden’s own Sigma Delta Tau sisterhood lent a helping hand in the battle against nationwide child abuse by honoring the Chicago based PCAA (an acronym for Prevent Child Abuse in America) on Thursday during the free period. Heavily based on raising awareness for both students and faculty alike, the event also served as part of the sorority’s annual Rush Week to entice new members.
About two dozen students (a combination of current members and potential candidates) filled the South Conference Room in the Campus Center with a serious goal in mind: To educate members of the RutgersCamden academic community about the hefty toll child abuse takes on our society, and how students can collaborate in the fight. Members of the sorority, who are no strangers to public advocacy work, offered a light-hearted atmosphere to the meeting by dividing the room into two teams for a game of “PCAA Jeopardy”, which shed light on what the program provides for the nation. Team names included “You can’t beat us” based on the left side of the room and “The Incredibles” on the right. The game was broken down into three categories: Symbols and Abbreviations, PCAA trivia and how the conjunction between PCAA and SDT functions. Questions were structured in a fashion inspired by the show which has been broadcasted since 1964, with each categorical question answered correctly earning a team anywhere from $100-$500 per correct response.
“PCAA is our philanthropy, and we are trying to show potential new members what we do to help it. We want them to learn how much the organization means to SDT, since we are based on community service as well as academics. We try to do as much for the community service programs as possible by doing things like volunteering at homeless shelters and doing park cleanups,” explained Rachel Chadwick, President of SDT.
In recognition of the cause, SDT and the PCAA have donated pinwheels. The pinwheels, according to Dawn Recuerdo, the Sisterhood’s Philanthropy Chair, “represent the childhood every child deserves. They produce a reflective light any child should have which symbolizes a bright future in the sun.” All in all, over 1.3 million pinwheels have been reported donated since April 2008. Additionally, explained Recuerdo, a pinwheel garden was erected this previous Sunday in front of the school’s Campus Center.
The sorority also annually donates $100,000 to the organization founded in 1972 and whose core values include “valuing children, strengthening families and engaging communities.” The group’s primary mission is, according to its website (preventchildabuse.org), “to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children”it seeks the de-escalation of all forms of abuse, whether it is physical, psychological or sexual. The site also maintains that almost $104 billion can be saved through efficient transmission of information in regards to child abuse, to all ages, ethnicities and personal backgrounds.
“This is one step closer to us preventing child abuse and to help us raise money/ awareness since abuse is still a huge issue in the United States,” said Michelle Cavanaugh who serves as SDT’s Parliamentarian-Risk Management Chair.
Other group members shared a mutual optimism about the event.
“PCAA is a great organization that does a lot for kids and their families,” said the groups’ Amanda O’Keefe, who oversees Public Relations as part of the Panhellenic Council at Rutgers. “It helps them achieve the most they can despite troubling circumstances.”
Potential “Rushes” of Sigma Delta Tau also were quick to add their own words of encouragement, such as Justina Garretson a 20-year-old Sophomore, and Nicole Amoratis, 19 and also a Sophomore at the school.
“I think this is a great experience and so far it’s been a lot of fun. I’m also getting to meet a lot of new girls this way,” said Garretson.
“This is an important and serious organization that deals with problems still go-
ing on today,” added Amoratis. “It’s great knowing that you can help the little kids”. Even Jenna Cantarella, who serves as Vice-President of Recruitment spoke of the PCAA with the utmost admiration, and her enthusiastic words might have summed up the sorority’s relationship with the group on another level, indicating just how important the collaboration is to all.
“I love being involved with PCAA. What we give back to the community is a huge part of who we are. We have extended now beyond just working with the organization nationally and have gone on to work here in Camden at the Ronald McDonald House, where we have cooked dinner and last year raised money”, she said.