This past Wednesday, September 6, hundreds of college women gathered in the Grove at 5:00 in the evening to celebrate the University of Mississippi’s 11th annual Care Walk. Care Walk is a charity event hosted by Ole Miss Panhellenic each fall. The proceeds of the event go to the Baptist Cancer Center of North Mississippi to provide breast cancer screening services to underinsured patients. Care walk is planned each year by Panhellenic council in conjunction with Jennifer Eastland, Coordinator of Marketing at the Baptist Center.
“This tradition showcases the dedication of Greek women at the University of Mississippi to philanthropy. College Panhellenic President Caitlyn Clegg stated, “Many of our chapters are top fundraising chapters for their respective organizations, and it is heartwarming to see everyone come together to help fight a cause that affects all women, regardless of affiliation.”
This year marked Clegg’s fourth year participating in Care Walk. Having served on the judicial board last year, she found herself well equipped to help plan and supervise this year’s event as part of the College Panhellenic Council.
Because the event is held before rush each year, the participants of Care Walk are distinguished by shirt color: active sorority members wore fuchsia shirts, while potential new members (PNMs) wore light pink shirts.
“This event helps PNMs understand how important philanthropic obligations are when joining a sorority,” said Clegg, “However, CARE Walk is an LOU community event that is not recruitment-focused.”
Several survivors gave their testimony to the crowd from the Grove stage, including a former Rebelette who was active in the Ole Miss Greek community when she attended the University. The participating women were then led by the speakers on a walk around campus. Campus UPD was posted along Rebel Drive and Fraternity Row to control traffic while the women walked. This year, the walk concluded with snow cones, and a photo booth for the women to document their experience.
A tradition for over a decade, Care Walk is sponsored by many Oxford businesses. The businesses that contribute vary from year to year. This year the businesses that sponsored were: Lulu’s, La Rousse, Olive Juice Gifts, The Lily Pad, Indigo’s, Alice & Co., Frock Fashions, D Squared, American Campus, Geneologie, Kinnucan’s, and the Ivory Closet. Tables were set up along the sidewalk promoting the contributors.
There was also a table that gave participants the opportunity to write a breast cancer survivor’s name on a piece of paper headed “I walk in honor of”, which could then be safety-pinned to the back of the participant’s shirt.
“My stepmom had breast cancer, and seeing the effects that this awful disease has on people is heartbreaking,” Clegg shared.
“It was such a great experience,” recalled New Orleans native and PNM Brooke Williamson, “all the girls who went out to support this cause truly embody how service-oriented and selfless the Ole Miss community is.”
Peyton Day is an intern for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.HERE!