AOII “Strikes Out Arthritis” with kickball tournament

By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer

On Friday, April 29, Alpha Omicron Pi Sigma Tau held their signature annual event, Strike Out Arthritis, to raise funds for combating juvenile arthritis.

This year, the organization chose kickball as their sport theme. Any student or campus faculty member could contribute $5 to be part of a team. Teams consisted of seven to 10 players.

The tournament lasted from 3 to 5 p.m. on the Campus Green.

According to AOII Director of Philanthropy sophomore Lily Bitterman, all proceeds from the event were donated to the AOII Arthritis Foundation, which supports arthritis research and education, and juvenile arthritis camps and conferences.

Planning for the event took place over the course of a semester and a half due to their other major philanthropy event in the fall, Blue Week.

One issue of planning the event so far in advance was uncertainty regarding availability of other campus organizations.

“It’s hard to find a time when the majority of campus is available,” Bitterman said. “Support from our peers is huge. Because of this, we put much consideration into the dates and times of our events, in hopes to engage as much of the Washington College campus as possible.”

Seven teams competed in the tournament, many of which included students from a diverse range of organizations on campus. The team Cecil and Friends took home first place at the end of the tournament.

AOII has not held Strike Out Arthritis since  the COVID-19 pandemic began, which, according to AOII sister senior Sydney Voelbel, presented a challenge with marketing the event.

“It can be challenging to bring back…our biggest philanthropy event after COVID-19. Not a lot of people on campus [were] able to experience Strike Out Arthritis prior to the pandemic,” Voelbel said. “So we are really trying to bring more awareness to the event.”

To promote Strike Out Arthritis, sisters and sweethearts of AOII tabled in Hodson Hall during the week leading up to the tournament.

AOII also has a CrowdChange that interested parties can register or donate funds through. Their goal was set at $250, which as of May 2 has since surpassed for a donation total of $589.

The importance of raising funds for their philanthropy is something that AOII President junior Alexandra Solano emphasized.

“[Within] our chapter, we had sisters who unfortunately were diagnosed with this [disorder]…but our efforts go back to finding a cure and aiding those with this disease,” Solano said.

Photo by Olivia Dorsey

Featured Photo Caption: The sisters of AOII playing against Cecil and Friends. The sisters wore blue shirts during the tournament, the color representative of juvenile arthritis.

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