Sigma Kappa hits hole-in-one against Alzheimer’s

Courtesy Photo / Kelsey Ferrand
Curtis Vaden, Matt Supron, Josh Barnhart, and Joe Monahan, a team at the golf outing, pose for a picture with Allison Supron

Courtesy Photo / Kelsey Ferrand Curtis Vaden, Matt Supron, Josh Barnhart, and Joe Monahan, a team at the golf outing, pose for a picture with Allison Supron

Rachel Melke

Although you typically see people out on the greens to relax, one sorority on campus had a different purpose in mind when it took to the Meadows golf course last month.

Grand Valley State University’s Sigma Kappa sorority held its annual golf outing at the Meadows on Sept. 24, raising $600 for Alzheimer’s disease research in the process. The money earned went to the Sigma Kappa Foundation’s Ultra Violet Campaign, designed to raise money for all of Sigma Kappa’s philanthropy causes.

A record number of 90 participants either played 18 holes for $40 or 9 holes for $20 at this year’s outing.

For $50, some companies and families sponsored holes on the course, too. The companies included Big Rapids Products, the Professional Resource Group and the Gallery College of Beauty, L.L.C.

Some students have participated multiple times, which Sigma Kappa hopes to continue.

“I always look forward to the outing because my friends and I always have such a great time,” said GVSU student Nick Lange, who participated in the outing for a second year.

Although the event was cut short because of inclement weather, the Meadows golf course gave out rain checks to accommodate.

“The golf outing is always an event we look forward to because it not only reaches out to the Grand Valley students, but the community along with family and friends within our sorority can participate,” said GVSU student Laura Ferriss, Sigma Kappa’s vice president of philanthropic services.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, there are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers providing 17 billion unpaid hours of care, valued at $202 billion. In Michigan alone, the unpaid care was valued at $7 billion in 2010.

A majority of the family caregivers report high stress levels, and some even report symptoms of depression.

Sigma Kappa sorority added Alzheimer’s disease research and education to its philanthropies in 1984. Research grants are made each year to universities and other institutions actively engaged in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“We want to thank all of the people who came out to support the Sigma Kappa Foundation along with Meadows golf course for hosting us every year and we are excited for the upcoming school year,” Ferriss said.

As successful as it has been, Sigma Kappa would like the outing to continue and improve in the following years. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that unless research can yield a change, the cost of Alzheimer’s in the U.S. in 2050 will be $1.1 trillion.

Kelsey Ferrand, a GVSU student and public relations chair for Sigma Kappa, said she hopes the event does continue to expand and raise more money with more student body support.

“Currently, we have a lot of parents that attend the event, but we would like to keep the cost low so students can continue to attend as well,” Ferrand said.

To learn more about Sigma Kappa’s involvement with Alzheimer’s research, visit the GVSU chapter’s website at, or the national website at

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