York College students take proactive approach to women's breast health

York College women are prepared to "feel their boobies" on campus this week in support of the many people who are affected by breast cancer each year.

Spreading the simple message of proactive health checks, the Bras Across Campus event, running through Thursday, Oct. 11, will give students the opportunity to hear the message in a relatable way, through their peers.

York College staff, students and community members wave to a drone during a "50" formation during the school's 50th Anniversary Kick-Off Party for the campus community Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. Several anniversary events are planned during the week. Bill Kalina photo

Students are partnering with the Feel Your Boobies Foundation for the event, promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

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The nonprofit organization, which focuses on educating young women under 40 — at pre-mammogram age, takes an unconventional approach, using social media and highly visible reminders such as a "boobies bus," aerial banners and flash mobs to spread the word, according to its website.

On campus: Feel Your Boobies has a college outreach program, which provides educational resources and peer-to-peer programming.

Since the program started in 2012, the organization has worked with close to 500 campuses across the country.

Bras Across Campus, returning to York College for the third year, brings the foundation to campuses through a fun and interactive fundraising event that promotes the message through student engagement. All fundraising proceeds will benefit foundation programs. 

The event is sponsored by York College's Panhellenic Council, the sorority governing board on campus. 

"This event is really important to students because breast cancer affects so many families," including those of numerous students on campus, the council's vice president of programming, Kat Van Houten, said.

While many breast cancer awareness campaigns target women in their early 30s, she said, "unfortunately there have been cases when people have been diagnosed at age 20 or 21."

And though the event is geared toward women, men can get breast cancer, too, Van Houten said, so learning how to identify the warning signs can be helpful to everyone.

Eight schools in the country participated in the initiative last year, including York College, Shippensburg University and Penn State Harrisburg.

More:PHOTOS: YCP turns 50

Last year's student chairs said just having students involved in organizing the event encouraged others to come, according to a video of the 2017 event.

And York College members of national fraternity Kappa Delta Rho said it was a great way to come together as a community and help a greater cause, the video shows.

Huge success: The event was a huge success last year.

York College raised $2,000 in its 2017 campaign, far surpassing its $500 goal, according to the video.

More than 100 students are expected to attend this year's event, a news release states, and as of Monday, students have already raised $2,800 of their $3,000 fundraising goal.

More:VIDEO: Volunteers go bald to fund childhood cancer research

New to the outreach program this year is a model that organizations can replicate to encourage students to utilize mobile platforms, complete a “self-check,” watch videos and post a selfie on social media to share the message with others, the foundation website states.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, the foundation will give a special presentation at 5:15 p.m. at the Panhellenic Council meeting at Weinstock Lecture Hall.

Executive director Leigh Hurst, along with breast cancer survivor Jane Rice and interventional radiologist Joanne Trapeni, will speak.

Other activities on campus this week include Bingo for Boobies at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, an opportunity to throw a pie at a student senator or "dye the fountain pink" 1-3 p.m. Wednesday and a Fight On volleyball tournament at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Here's a full list of events, which are open to all students and the public, except for the two meetings on Tuesday, which are for students only:

Tuesday, Oct. 9: 

  • Student Senate Pink Meeting, 5 p.m., William Walker Hall 
  • Panhellenic Pink Meeting, 5:15 p.m., Weinstock Lecture Hall
  • Bingo for Boobies,  9:30 p.m., Alumni Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 10: 

  • Color me Sigma Delta Tau (pay $1 to throw paint at sorority sisters), 11 a.m.- 1 p.m., Student Union Patio
  • Pie a Senator, sponsored by Student Senate, 1-3 p.m., Student Union Patio 
  • Dye the Fountain Pink, 1-3 p.m., Fountain
  • Handel's On Queen Street Fundraiser (20 percent of ice cream proceeds go to campaign), 6:30-8:30 p.m., 2310 S. Queen St., York Township

Thursday, Oct. 11: 

  • Fight On volleyball tournament (everyone who raises $10 can participate), 7 p.m.,  Grumbacher Sport & Fitness Center