Sorority funds arthritis research


Caroline Manemann believed arthritis only affected the elderly, but that was before she was diagnosed with it herself at age 15. Manemann may never “look” like she has arthritis. Her joints may never swell, and her skin may never turn red, but the pain remains the same for every person with arthritis.
“Arthritis affects people of all ages and every diagnosis is different and unique,” Manemann said.
Last week, sororities across the globe raised money for their respective philanthropies. Manemann’s sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, has been partnering with the Arthritis Foundation since 1967 for “AOII Goes Blue Week.”
During their philanthropy week, Alpha Omicron Pi chapters everywhere host events on their college campuses that raise money to support arthritis research, juvenile arthritis power packs and juvenile arthritis camps and conferences.
“The Arthritis Foundation is our international philanthropy. This means Alpha Omicron Pi members around the world donate money to the foundation,” said Alyssa Fontenot, the sorority’s philanthropy chairman.
Fate must have played a role in Manemann accepting the bid from Alpha Omicron Pi as she had no idea which organization the sorority raised money for before becoming a member.
“I love being able to raise money and awareness for arthritis,” Manemann said. “It means so much to me that I get to do this with my sisterhood.”
During AOII Goes Blue Week, Alpha Omicron Pi hosted three events on campus: AOPIE in the Face, Handprint Our Letters and a dodgeball tournament.
The sorority also partnered with Cane’s in the mall. If you bought food from there last Wednesday, a portion of the money you spent was donated to the Arthritis Foundation.
Caitlyn Hilliard, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, said her favorite part of the philanthropy week was AOPIE in the Face. People paid $2 to get to throw a pan filled with whipped cream into the faces of any member of the sorority’s. AOPIE in the Face raised $135 in total, according to Fontenot.
“I walked around campus smelling like whipped cream for the rest of the day, but it was worth it,” Hilliard said.
Although raising money for their respective philanthropies is a huge part of sorority life, there is more to these groups than that. Members learn valuable life skills and make friends that will last a lifetime.
“In a sorority you don’t just have friends. You have sisters,” Fontenot said.