Vianney Vargas, VP Women's Wellness
Vianney Vargas, VP Women's Wellness
UCLA Run Walk
This past spring, the Panhellenic community had the privilege of helping at the UCLA Run/Walk, a 5K event that UCLA students, as well as members of the Los Angeles community, participate in each year running, walking, behind the scenes, donations and performing. The UCLA Run/Walk benefits the Child Life/Child Development Program at Mattel Children's Hospital.
Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA ranks among the world's elite institutions for pediatric research, teaching and care. Serving more than 6,000 inpatients and 100,000 outpatients annually, Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents. Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA is a vital part of the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center which continues to be ranked as "Best in the West" by U.S.News & World Report's annual survey of America's hospitals.
This year, Mia Varner, the VP Programming officer, worked with the volunteer coordinator of the event and had the Panhellenic community help out with the behind the scenes. 10 women from each chapter did a variety of tasks from helping with participator's check-in, moralling along the route, and clean up.
Dance Marathon was started by Greeks at UCLA in 2002 and has since spread to a campus-wide effort to promote AIDS awareness and raise funds for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Association. The event entails twenty-six hours of dancing, and asks each participant to raise a certain amount of money to be donated to the cause. It includes themed hours, competitions, and performances from local bands and student groups. Participants can also learn from celebrities, children, patients, and activists about what they're working for.
Although the Greek Community is no longer completely in charge of the event, they still are significant contributors to it. The women of Panhellenic decided to make a strong effort to help in the fight against pediatric AIDS and give back to our community in the past year. The council has always committed a certain amount of women to dance in the event, and this year, we increased the number to at least eight per chapter. Not surprisingly, we had over one-hundred sorority women who participated as dancers in the event. We helped Dance Marathon make over $200,000 last year.
The women of the Panhellenic council contributed to the event in many different ways. There are many women who work as committee members, planning for an entire year before the event to make sure that everything is executed successfully. The aforementioned dancers commit twenty-six hours to dancing, and by the end, will feel the exhaustion that a person facing AIDS would experience. They are willing to do so in order to "provide a lifetime for children with HIV/AIDS." Panhellenic women are also involved as moralers, who come for three hour shifts to encourage the dancers to keep up their energy. Panhellenic has many moralers involved, as we feel it is very important to encourage and support our sisters in this exhausting event.
Dance Marathon is an amazing event with overwhelming Panhellenic participation. Each member that participates learns and commits to the fight against HIV/AIDS. In addition, she is able to learn a lot about herself, and become closer with members of her sisterhood and of UCLA Panhellenic.
UCLA Clothesline Project Participation
The UCLA Clothesline Project is an on campus organization which seeks to bring an end to gender-based violence and other hate crimes. Sexual violence is an especially pertinent topic for the Greek women of a college campus. Unfortunately, 90% of all assaults go unreported, only 1-2% of these cases are ever prosecuted, and these disturbing statistics continue. The Clothesline Project believes that education on these issues may be one of the only ways to change these numbers, and the UCLA Panhellenic Council agrees. Some of the women of the Panhellenic Council became involved in this organization, working as committee members to ensure the success of the event.
The Clothesline Project hosts a week long display of t-shirts in a variety of colors created by survivors of sexual and gender violence. Each t-shirt color corresponds to a different sort of sexual abuse. This display is in an open park on campus, located in an area where thousands of people walk each day. Through this, the survivors hope to "break the silence surrounding sexual violence and commemorate their survivorship." The UCLA Panhellenic Council wanted to contribute to this cause, at it is very relevant to each sister's personal safety. The council had at least ten women from each chapter assisting in the set up and removal of the t-shirts and the clothesline each morning and evening. Women also assisted in handing out flyers to advertise the important display. In addition, they were encouraged to decorate a t-shirt themselves, if they felt victimized by these crimes at any point in their lives.
UCLA Panhellenic's participation in the Clothesline Project helped to bring together women and men who felt that they were the victims of sexual violence. Women were encouraged to remember and recognize the insurgence of violence that has occurred in the surrounding community, and to fight against future attacks. Our participation helped to make the UCLA campus safer and better educated.
Habitat For Humanity
The UCLA Panhellenic Council brought twenty women, representing all of our eleven chapters to participate in Habitat for Humanity. The women traveled to a low-income part of Compton, which was extremely different from our Westwood environment. They acted as a team and were able to build inter-sorority relations while creating a home for someone who was in desperate need of it.
The Panhellenic team worked together to paint every room of the home – twice. In addition, they assisted in the creation and erection of a fence to surround the building, and even worked on the structure itself. They were able to interact with the future owner of the home and see in her eyes what it meant to her to have a house that so many people put so much effort into. Despite the paint stains and blisters that were acquired by the end of the day, each Panhellenic woman was proud of her accomplishment and the accomplishment of the team as a whole. They each left with this satisfaction, new friendships, and an excitement to be able to participate in a worthwhile cause in the future.