Thinking Pink in October with Zeta Tau Alpha

Zeta Tau Alpha sorority sisters at the University of Miami hold a fundraising bake sale in their suite at the Merritt Panhellenic Building on Oct. 5, 2023. Photo credit: Trevor Castleman

Pink as a color has historically represented a variety of qualities, including friendship, peace, harmony and compassion.

As we enter the month of October, commonly known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the University’s Gamma Alpha chapter of sorority Zeta Tau Alpha is sponsoring its annual ThinkPink Week.

In this week of philanthropic events, Zeta Tau Alpha routinely seeks to gain the support of UM students when bringing greater awareness to the disease.

“Throughout the week, we have planned various activities such as pickleball, Pie a Zeta, the fountain lighting, tabling and giving out pink pins to students,” said Caroline Frisiras, one of the ThinkPink chairs and director of philanthropy for the sorority.

ThinkPink Week aims to get students involved in events to have fun while being educated about preventive measures and the disease’s impact.

Around campus, many students are showing their support by wearing their Zeta pink pins with pride. Zeta Tau Alpha works to unite students by raising awareness of efforts to combat the perils of breast cancer by having media specialists give talks to members of the organization.

“At the fountain lighting event, various doctors such as Dr. Carmen Calfa, a breast cancer medical oncologist at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Star Mautner a breast surgical oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute- Baptist Health and Dr. Felicia Knaul, the first lady of UM, who all came to speak about health checks and breast cancer education to all of the Zeta members,” said Frisiras. “There are also many other events going on throughout the week such as a bake sale, 50/50 raffle, and pop-up shows that all raise money towards the organization’s philanthropy.”

Gianna Galiano, a sophomore in Zeta Tau Alpha, discusses her involvement in the sorority’s ThinkPink week events.

“The fountain lighting is something every member attends and it’s a special event that happens every year,” said Galiano. “There is also a banner where people donate money for a ribbon by writing the name of a survivor or fighter they know. The organization also designs merchandise that people can purchase in support of the cause.” After this week the organization raised over $8,200 for all its efforts.

Allie Bishop, a sophomore and member of Zeta Tau Alpha, spoke about her individual experience with being a Zeta and what this week means to her and other members. Bishop’s grandmother battled with breast cancer, and this week means a lot to her and many others who have been directly impacted by this disease by spreading awareness but also providing support for those who have been affected.

“At the fountain lighting, one of the speakers mentioned the fountain was never lit pink when she attended the University, and it serves as a daily reminder for all to support the cause” said Bishop.

“On Thursday, Oct. 5 and Friday, Oct. 6, the Zeta suite held a bake sale, jewelry sale and bathing suit sale where the proceeds went towards breast cancer research, and the sale brought in many students and parents this weekend,” said Bishop.

This organization’s events have given students a chance to be involved in various activities to support breast cancer awareness and have allowed them to interact with members of the organization such as wearing their pins, pieing members of the sorority, visiting the tabling and Zeta suite to purchase items. Student involvement on campus makes ThinkPink week possible.

Members of the sorority hold this week very close to their hearts, both having a personal connection to those who have been diagnosed, while also coming together with other sisters to rally in support.

“There is a value of being in an organization such as Zeta,” said Galiano. “In being surrounded by sisters that also resonate with the cause, it brings people together and many share their stories about how breast cancer has impacted their lives and how the UM community can unite with the color pink.”