Name: Camaria Lehman
Hometown: Harmony, Pennsylvania
Birthday: August 8, 1993
Major: Biomedical Engineering and Economics
What are some activities that you are involved in to raise breast cancer awareness?
I am the director of philanthropy for Zeta Tau Alpha, and our national philanthropy is breast cancer awareness and education. Part of the reason, I joined ZTA is that I feel passionate about the cause. Now, I help oversee all of ZTA’s interests in breast cancer awareness, including fundraising and advocacy for the cause, on campus, and the Evanston community. I’ve been really involved with the American Cancer Society since I was younger. When I came to school, I joined relay for life, and I’ve served on a committee and their 2013 executive board.
Can you tell us about some of the events for ZTA’s “Think Pink Week” that have been going on?
To kick-off “Think Pink Week,” we had a registered party with AEPi, whose philanthropy is also breast cancer education. They also work with another breast cancer organization on their “Dog Days” philanthropy, which is how we started collaborating on the project. We had a “munchies” event called “State Fair;” It was partnered with Sigma Lambda Gamma, which is a Latina- based sorority whose national philanthropy is also breast cancer awareness, and so part of what we really wanted to do this year is increase our partnerships and strengthen the ones we did have. Breast cancer unfortunately is pretty prevalent, and therefore it becomes a lot of organization’s national philanthropies. This week, ZTA is also tabling, selling cookies, handing out ribbons, and shower cards, and giving out other health information; this week is really focused on advocacy. On Sunday, we have our annual pumpkin carving contest, “Carve to Cure,” and that is really our Evanston based event, where we really focus on engaging families, and people who may be touched in a different way than others on campus.
What advice do you have for others who want to get involved in either breast cancer related philanthropy or charity in general?
I think just charity in general, which is basically the fundamental part of what I do, is just forcing yourself to go into uncomfortable situations. Especially with charities that tend to play to people’s hearts, where you may have to go talk to someone that’s dealt with something, that’s really affected who they are as a person; you have to jump in with two feet, and not be afraid to be uncomfortable. I volunteer for a lot of organizations in Evanston and they’re always really excited to see Northwestern students, but I know for a lot of us (students,) it can be really nerve-wrecking: we just moved here, and don’t live here and so you don’t’ want to just show up somewhere inexperienced, where the people working there have been involved for 30 years, but they love to see us, and generally the people who benefit from the organizations love to see us even more. So, just do it!
Do you think that you will continue to be involved in breast cancer awareness in the future?
Yes, I do think that it’s a very important cause. I am involved in a lot of other philanthropic ventures and so I’m being pulled in multiple ways, but ZTA’s philanthropy, has definitely made a very serious impact on me; I didn’t really think of breast cancer as an individual context until I was in ZTA, and really saw how much it affects people and overall the substantial impact that college students have on this specific area. IT will probably keep going.
What else are you involved with on campus?
Relay for Life, I also teach for the academic mentoring program; I teach economics and statistics, which is really awesome, it’s another great way to give back to the community, from a more academic standpoint. A lot of the other things I do are off campus, I volunteer for ESCCA, which is a clothing association at the Evanston School district. I volunteer with the Y, I volunteer with Y.O.U of Evanston; I’m around a lot.
What is your dream job?
At some point, I want to be the C.E.O or executive director of either the American Red Cross, or ShelterBox USA, which is an organization I currently work with as well. We’ll see how it goes.