With over 50 million people in the United States alone facing some form of hearing loss, one SUNY Cortland student club plans to spread awareness.
On Sunday, April 12, members of the College’s chapter of the National Student Speech, Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) hope to encourage as many volunteers as possible to take part in the first CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence run/walk in New York state.
Hosted in partnership with the Sertoma Club of Vestal, N.Y., the five-kilometer awareness run/walk was created to promote hearing health.
CELEBRATE SOUND will start at 10 a.m. outside the Professional Studies Building. The 5K is open to members of the campus and the Cortland community. Public parking is available for participants in the Professional Studies Building lot.
Registration for the event can be done in advance online or the day of the event at 9 a.m. at the start site.
The registration fee, which supports the advocacy efforts on behalf of individuals with impaired hearing, is $15 for students, faculty and staff and $20 for the general public. Individuals who would like to donate to the cause can visit the CELEBRATE SOUND website.
“It’s important for us as students to be involved and raise awareness as well as support the cause,” said Kassandra Gacek, president of the SUNY Cortland chapter of NSSLHA, which organized the event.
“Hearing is such a big part of language development and communication, which is what we study as pre-professionals,” said Gacek, a senior dual majoring in Spanish and speech and hearing science from Airmont, N.Y.
Michael Pitcher, advisor to SUNY Cortland’s chapter of NSSLHA, noted, “I think it speaks to a number of issues, like their interest in the profession and causes outside of the classroom.
“We have a professional obligation to advocate for individuals with disabilities and part of that advocacy is public awareness,” said Pitcher, a SUNY Cortland lecturer of communication disorders and sciences and the College’s coordinator of audiological services. “We need to instill that responsibility in our students and events such as this speaks to that obligation.”
To date, $7,126 has been raised to date toward the fundraiser goal of $10,000. Proceeds go to Sertoma, a national charity that strives to improve the quality of life for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss. Sertoma will donate half of the net proceeds to Hearing Charities of America. The other half will be used to purchase iPads for in-clinic therapy sessions in the College’s Communication Disorders and Sciences Department.