Delta Zeta hosts tournament, raises awareness for hearing

GVL / Courtesy - Delta Zeta

Delta Zeta

GVL / Courtesy – Delta Zeta

Ty Konell

Hearing is a sense that people often take for granted. Grand Valley State University’s chapter of Delta Zeta, however, is supporting a foundation that provides free hearing aids and other resources to those in need with its second annual “Hoops for Hearing” event.

Hoops for Hearing, which will be held on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Allendale High School, is a three-on-three basketball tournament raising funds for Starkey Hearing Foundation.

“Starkey Hearing Foundation gives hearing aids and hearing care all around the world,” said Paige Senn, Delta Zeta’s vice president of philanthropy. “The coolest part to me is that while providing hearing aids free of charge they also provide information and aftercare as well, so if the hearing aid breaks they’ll repair it.”

Sisters of Delta Zeta decided on hosting a basketball event over hosting a presentation because GVSU students are in class lectures during the week, and the sorority wanted to offer a fun event to raise awareness.

“I didn’t want to put my peers to sleep with a presentation on speech and hearing because they that’s what they go through all week,” said Marissa Hagen, former vice president of philanthropy for Delta Zeta. “By putting on a basketball tournament, it allows people to have fun all while giving back and being hands on, and knowing that they are helping a great cause.”

Sisters of Delta Zeta said hosting the basketball tournament was influenced by the success of other national chapters.

“We were looking around at what other Delta Zetas were doing around the country and we saw how successful it was,” said Senn. “We tailored it around March Madness and how everybody’s really into basketball right now, so we kind of build off of that hype.”

For some members of the sorority, working with Starkey Hearing Foundation is a special experience.

“My grandma has a difficult time hearing and has to use hearing aids which is hard for her to deal with sometimes,” Hagen said. “So, when I started Hoops for Hearing last year I actually found out that my grandma uses Starkey hearing aids and it made everything so much more personal for me.”

Delta Zeta sisters believe raising awareness for Starkey Hearing Foundation is a big step in assisting the hearing impaired within America and internationally.

“We are also trying to raise awareness because Starkey is such an amazing organization. Most people hear just fine, so people take the ability to hear for granted,” Hagen said. “However, Starkey travels the world and gives people the gift of hearing which is amazing to be a part of.”

In addition, members of the sorority said the event is not exclusive to Greek life and that anybody who is interested can participate, even if basketball is not for them.

“We like to involve everyone. We don’t want this to be tailored to Greek organizations, we want everybody to come,” Senn said. “We also have fun little activities and raffles for people who don’t want to or can’t play basketball but still want to give back.”

While members of the sorority know so much about Starkey, they believe events like this are a fun way to extend that information to the community.

“Yes, they’re playing basketball but they’re also helping provide hearing aids on the other side of the world,” said Senn. “It allows people to be a part of something bigger.”