Stephen F. Austin State University

News

SFA's Phi Upsilon Omicron honor society dedicates service projects to cancer prevention

March 31, 2016 - University Marketing Communications
Members of Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Human Sciences honor society, Phi Upsilon Omicron, raised more than $160 and presented the proceeds to Robin Johnson, a representative for the American Cancer Society, on March 8. Phi U members are dedicating their service projects to cancer prevention and to helping those battling cancer in honor of former Phi U officer and SFA interior design major Chelsie Watts, who died of cancer Jan. 30, 2015.
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's School of Human Sciences honor society, Phi Upsilon Omicron, is dedicating its service projects to cancer prevention and to helping those battling cancer in honor of former Phi U officer and SFA interior design major Chelsie Watts, who died of cancer Jan. 30, 2015.

Jessalyn Welch, Phi U president, also has been affected by cancer and helped put these projects in perspective. Welch said her aunt is a breast cancer survivor, and a close family friend died from the disease when Welch was in high school.

"I have been personally affected by cancer," Welch said. "I feel like I can relate to Chelsie's family and those who knew her because I also have lost loved ones to cancer. I believe these projects can help make others more aware of the ongoing battle against cancer."

This past October, Phi U members organized a Pink Out Day to raise money for breast cancer awareness and prevention. The group decorated the Human Sciences North Building Lobby on the SFA campus with pink balloons and paper chains and set up a booth to collect donations. Phi U raised more than $160 and presented the proceeds to Robin Johnson, a representative for the American Cancer Society, on March 8.

"Every little bit helps," Johnson said. "You may think the money you raise doesn't help, but even $25 can help a cancer patient get to treatment in Houston."

Phi U members also are helping with Relay for Life and decorated luminaries for a special Relay for Life ceremony. Johnson said the luminaries represent people who have died from or are battling cancer.

"The ceremony is a time to remember," Johnson said. "Relay for Life is a big pep rally to fight cancer and an opportunity to rally around the survivors we have in our lives."

Phi U members also assembled care packages, which included prayer and puzzle books, tissues, mouthwash, lotion, crackers and more to donate to people receiving cancer treatment at Nacogdoches Medical Center.

"Helping locally is important because when you think about the fight against cancer you think of something that is very big and not personal," Welch said. "By donating to Medical Center, we are making an impact at the local level, and we can see firsthand how these donations and kind gestures help."

The group also participated in the American Cancer Society's Coaches vs. Cancer event, a basketball game held for attendees to help raise money for the fight against cancer. During the event, Lumberjack basketball fans were encouraged to pledge either a one-time $10 donation or an amount for each 3-point shot the Lumberjacks made during the game against Lamar University in January.

Each Phi U chapter around the nation participates in a service project. Phi U exists to recognize and promote academic excellence, develop opportunities for leadership through service, and encourage lifelong learning and commitment to advance family and consumer sciences and related areas. SFA's chapter has approximately 45 members.