News from the Student Occupational Therapy Association
The UW-Madison’s Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) kept busy this year with many activities and events.
SOTA sponsored several social events throughout the school year. We began the fall semester with a game of sand volleyball between the first- and second-year classes. Other social activities included going to a corn maze and haunted house, holding end-of the semester holiday party in December, gathering for a movie night featuring “Autism: The Musical,” attending the encore presentation of The Lost Track, and participating in the Crazylegs Classic race.
SOTA welcomed the incoming class of 2011 to the program with an orientation lunch on June 5th. In an effort to increase social interaction between new and continuing students, we created small groups based on mutual interests to mentor the incoming students.
Fundraising was a huge success this past year. We raised money at several events including Bratfest, JJO Bandcamp, and the Southern Comfort Music Festival, several concerts at the Alliant Energy Center, Band Camp, and the American Idols Tour. We also sold beads at the Ohio State and Minnesota football games and sponsored a UW MSOT clothing sale.
SOTA members participated in several community service activities during the year. Students continued the monthly tradition of helping Capital Candlelighters, a support group for families of children with cancer, in which the students chaperone children with cancer and their siblings while their parents held a support meeting.
One of the first volunteering opportunities in the fall was the Walk for Autism in which SOTA members showed off their artistic skills with face painting before the actual walk began. Students participated in the Jingle Bell Run and attended FestivAle 2009, both of which donated the proceeds to the Arthritis Foundation.
During the winter months, the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs held a friendly competition to see which program could collect the most items for a food drive. OT won and celebrated with a pizza party hosted by the PTs.
The SOTA Chillers participated in the Polar Plunge in which several daring students survived the jump into a frozen Lake Monona and raised $1,525 for the Special Olympics. A group of students promoted the OT profession at the annual Women in Healthcare Seminar for high school girls. Students also set up a booth at the Wisconsin Wellness Campaign to spread information about the OT field and its services.
SOTA members volunteered at a deaf awareness event that featured a sign language comedian, and sponsored, prepared and served a meal at the Ronald McDonald House.
We recently created an officer position to promote interdisciplinary activities. Several OT students attended the first event – a lunch and informal case review with students and professionals in the varying healthcare disciplines.
SOTA was honored to be involved with the Healthy Classrooms Foundation, a nonprofit organization that stresses the importance of public health issues in the primary and secondary education systems. The annual Body Donor Memorial Service was held in April and to help support the ceremony, SOTA donated funds for the event.
Other events students attended included World AIDS Week events, the “Roots of the Human” symposium, another symposium titled “Coping with the past: A colloquium on collective guilt,” and a lecture on the physiological effects of meditation on the mind and body by the psychology and psychiatry professor Richard Davidson.
Students supplemented their academics by attending many professional events including the annual Caroline Thompson lecture, the Assistive Technology Fair, the annual WOTA conference (where two of our students, Jamie Karpinen and Jennifer Barry, were elected as the student representatives), the AOTA National Student Conclave in Chicago, and with great coordination efforts, the Annual AOTA Conference in Houston.
The majority of students also volunteered at AOTA by doing tasks such as scanning for sessions. We received a thank you letter from the AOTA volunteer coordinator for having such a large number of students from our program help out. Students are already looking forward to next year’s conference in Orlando, Florida.
On May 15, the class of 2009 became the third group of students graduating from the Occupational Therapy Program. They celebrated their accomplishments with a banquet for family, friends, faculty and fellow students.
The graduating class generously donated money for the purchase of two pieces of equipment for the adaptive technology lab and raised $2,000 for the Candlelighters program.