Lupus: Michigan Student Awareness Project

As a new organization, our main goal for the Lupus Detroit @ Michigan Student Awareness
Project was to raise awareness about Lupus. Largely due to the demographics of the Ann Arbor campus, many students are unaware of the struggles undergone by Lupus patients and many do not even know what Lupus is. Therefore, we sought to teach as many students and faculty members as possible about Lupus while engaging them in a fun event.

Initially, we sought out to put on a comedy show where participants would pay to
attend the event and in return receive a great deal of information about the organization, thedisease, and how they could get involved. While our main aim for this event was raising
awareness, we also hoped to recruit more members for our new organization. Although our intentions for the event were great, we later realized that we had underestimated the amount of time and work that it would take to put on an event of this caliber. Our first struggle was finding an affordable space that could accommodate the amount of people that we had in mind. After finding a space that was available, we next attempted to solidify comedians who would be willing to volunteer their services. However, this proved to be a greater challenge than we had anticipated. Although we each knew of people who would be willing to help, most comedians wanted compensation for their services and transportation and those who did not, could not be available on such short notices. After being unable to solidify a comedian, we decided that to go back to the drawing board and change the idea for our event.

The Lupus Detroit Butterfly that was painted by all attendees

In the end, we decided that if we wanted to reach out to as many people as possible the
event would need to be free seeing as our organization’s name is not well-known on campus. In this aspect we had to start small. We realized that as a new organization we had to be realistic about the amount of people who would support our event and be grateful for the few that did. Our awareness event became a painting event and was held February 24 2018. This event was inspired by the stress of finals time and the importance of self care on Lupus patients. As a team we agreed that one of the most important aspects of recovery for Lupus patients is self care. This not only means taking medications and adhering to doctors’ recommendations, but doing things that you love and enjoy. Thus, we decided to hold an event that would help to relieve some stress. At the event, we first discussed lupus and what our goals as an organization were. Afterwards, we had a short mingling time where potential members could meet one another and discuss why they were interested in becoming a part of the organization. Lastly, we al participation in the painting of a purple butterfly with the purple color being symbolic of Lupus (purple is the color of the Lupus ribbon) and the butterfly being symbolic and peace, happiness, and freedom.

The event was successful, in that, we recruited a lot of new members and raised awareness about Lupus. Although the event did not turn out as planned and we did not have as many attendees as we’d hoped, we considered it a successful event as long as a few people were willing to join the fight for Lupus warriors with us! Next semester, we plan to increase the awareness of Lupus even more and with the money with earned from a previous bake sale event, we plan to create baskets for inpatient Lupus warriors and deliver them in hopes that they will brighten their day a little bit. Our next event will be a large wellness event that will feature massages, painting, yoga, and more. We have already begun planning this event so that we will not encounter the same obstacles as
with our first one!

By Sydni Williams

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