AOII sisters’ Smoke Out Arthritis event raises money for good cause

By Faith Jarrell

Elm Staff Writer

On Friday, April 14, from 2 to 4 p.m., the sorority Alpha Omicron Pi held their Smoke Out Arthritis event on the Campus Green, raising money for juvenile arthritis.  

Every year, AOII holds a tournament event during the spring semester. Last year, AOII held a kickball tournament. This year, those who attended could get ice cream provided by Lockbriar Farms, burgers, and hot dogs. They could also listen to music or play wiffleball.  

In order to join a wiffleball team, students had to donate $5 via AOII’s CrowdChange and book their spot on a team ahead of time. Some of the teams who competed include the “Wiffle Babies,” “Phi Delt,” and “St. Marys.”  

Junior Griffin Lofft attended the event and played a game of wiffleball with his friends and fellow students. 

“I had a friend doing it and I figured it is going to charity, so might as well partake in it,” Lofft said. “It had a decent turnout.”  

The goal for the event, according to AOII President junior Kamden Richardson, was to raise money for their philanthropy. The sorority partners with Juvenile Arthritis Foundation to raise money for young patients struggling with arthritis.

These donations support research, as well as creating new resources for these children.

One initiative that this event assists is “Juvenile Arthritis Power Packs,” which is a bag filled with things a person with juvenile arthritis might need. Along with that, it raises money for Juvenile Arthritis camps and conferences that occur across the country. 

AOII VP of Community Relations sophomore Claire Garretson provided insight on how their event connected to their philanthropy.

“Right now, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis and more than 300,000 kids suffer from JA in the United States,” Garretson said. “A lot of people consider arthritis to be a disease that comes with age, but our chapter raises awareness every year for the fact that kids get arthritis too.”

Not only does the Smoke Out Arthritis event raise money for a good cause, but as Richardson mentioned, it is also a chance to get those on campus to interact and have a good time with one another, especially with less than a month of the semester left.  

“This event is a great way to get campus involved in something greater than ourselves, and learn something about something they previously haven’t known before. Smoke out is also a great time to get people outside and enjoying the company of others on campus during this stressful time,” Richardson said. 

AOII Director of Philanthropy senior Jessica Borders said that she believed the event was a successful end to the sorority’s year.

“Smoke Out Arthritis had a great turnout, and we raised double our goal,” Borders said. “Thank you to everyone who attended and supported our philanthropy.”

The next event hosted by AOII is the Memorial Jasmine Queen 5K on May 6, which honors the memory of Jasmine Queen, one of their sisters who passed.

Photo by John Desoto

Photo Caption: AOII sisters sold shirts for the event ahead of time for $25 each.

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