News from the Student Occupational Therapy Association 2011
SOTA had an amazing year with several new events including the first annual OT Bash, a campus-wide interdisciplinary meeting, and a College Outreach Program for OT students.
SOTA continued to participate in the annual WOTA and AOTA conferences, volunteer with Capital Candlelighters and Quaker housing, host the Arts and Crafts Fair and the Rehabilitation Job Fair, and fundraise for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis and the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.
Career Development and Strategic Planning
The UW representatives to the AOTA Assembly of Student Delegates proposed a new SOTA restructuring plan, inspired by and created after round table discussions at the Assembly meetings at the AOTA conference in Philadelphia. The new structure includes fewer leadership chair positions (eight first year positions and 11 second year positions) and more committee positions. The goal is to create a better representation of the UW-MSOT program throughout the community, in state (WOTA) and national (AOTA) organizations, and aims to encourage more student involvement and improve communication between students and faculty. SOTA members from the class of 2012 voted to adopt the new structure for the following academic year.
SOTA’s interdisciplinary chairs spent the year developing a plan to create sustainable relationships with other disciplines at UW, and with occupational therapy assistant students at MATC. The group proposed an annual "Case Study Day" that was discussed with other interested disciplines during campus-wide interdisciplinary meetings. Also, the interdisciplinary committee helped organize several visits with members of the Pre-OT Student Organization (POTSO), with the goal of educating the undergrad students about the broad field of OT and providing them with mentors during their undergraduate studies. Another goal of meetings between SOTA and POTSO members was to promote more co-involvement for volunteer and outreach events. Also, SOTA’s interdisciplinary team contributed to the job fair preparations by inviting a variety of future rehab professionals from both the UW and surrounding schools to attend the 2011 Rehabilitation Job Fair. Throughout the year, students were also updated on interesting interdisciplinary lectures and events happening on our campus or in our community that may pertain to the world of occupational therapy.
SOTA once again helped raise money for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis and the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. SOTA’s partnership with Alliant Energy Center provided a variety of fundraising opportunities including the Disturbed concert and the Jeff Dunham show. partnered with six Arts for All artists in the Health Science Learning Center Atrium for the most successful Arts and Crafts pre-holidays sale yet. SOTA participated in Boston Store’s Community Days event, which supports non-profit organizations through the sale of coupon books. SOTA planned and hosted the first annual OT Bash in April to celebrate Occupational Therapy Awareness Month. The goal of the OT Bash was to bring attention to the field of Occupational Therapy on campus. SOTA members raised more than $3000 this year to benefit local organizations and to keep the Association running.
Community Outreach chairs and other SOTA members continued to maintain a monthly commitment with Capital Candlelighters, a non-profit organization offering financial and social support to families affected by pediatric cancer. OT students helped by engaging the children in crafts and games at Vitense Golfland, while their parents attend much needed support meetings. Also, students continued to volunteer with low-income seniors at Quaker housing in Madison throughout the year, by hosting activities such as pumpkin painting, sing-alongs, Wii sports, BINGO, chair aerobics, healthy treats, and cookie decorating. SOTA members also volunteered for the Walk 4 Autism in October by lending their talents in face painting and directing participants, and participated in the Second Harvest Foodbank ‘Share Your Holidays’ food drive in December. In April, SOTA hosted the first ever College Outreach Program presentation for OT students at UW-Madison, where students enjoyed a free lunch and learned about an online website that can help them apply for jobs, update their resumes, and browse helpful job-related tips. With the help of the Community Outreach chairs, SOTA was able to recruit 15 vendors for the annual Rehabilitation Job Fair hosted by SOTA in late March. In spring, Community Outreach chairs collaborated with department faculty to update the bulletin boards in the OT program hallways in order to better educate visitors about the OT field and OT program at UW-Madison, and to showcase some of activities OT students have been involved in this year. Overall, it has been a rewarding year with many great service opportunities.
Events and Activities
SOTA’s social chairs organized several great social events throughout the year, in order to help the two MS-OT classes continue to grow closer and get to know one another better and to welcome the incoming class. Students got together for a Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday party, a potluck, a Concerts on the Square outing, football tailgates in the fall, and a low ropes course in the spring. The course allowed students to work on various skills, such as developing team work, problem solving, and relationship building. SOTA’s historian chairs photographed most of the major SOTA events throughout the year, including the job fair, low-ropes course, body donor ceremony and other class events. They also designed and ordered the t-shirts for the OT bash, which OT students wore to help promote the field of Occupational Therapy and the MS-OT program at UW-Madison.
SOTA helped organize a graduation banquet for the MSOT Class of 2011, which is the fifth to graduate from UW-Madison. The banquet was a great success, and allowed the students to celebrate their accomplishments with faculty, family, and friends. Also, SOTA welcomed the incoming Class of 2013 with an orientation potluck lunch hosted by the Class of 2012 on June 3rd. A mentorship program was developed to pair each OT student from the incoming class with a second year student, in order to aid the incoming students with any questions they may have and to help with their transition into graduate school. SOTA looks forward to the new upcoming school year and hopes to continue their involvement in the campus and surrounding community.