By Stephanie O'Bryan, and Elaine Devora
Summer is just around the corner! After a long semester, it's time to unwind without forgetting about important matters. Summer is a great time to bond with your fellow SAA students without too many tests and deadlines to worry about. Why not bond over what you know best – audiology! Here are some fun ideas for SAA chapters to get involved in the SAA and with the outside community over the next few months.
first-year AuD student at University of Cincinnati and SAA member at large-elect
second-year AuD student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, and SAA Media Committee member
- Have a welcome picnic
Organize a welcome picnic for the incoming first-year AuD students. This is a great way for the first-year students to meet their fellow classmates and the second- and third-year audiology students. It is important to make sure the incoming students are knowledgeable about their schools and SAA chapter and inform them about fundraising and social events.
- Hold a bake sale
There are many opportunities to raise money for your SAA chapter. For example, you can bake some ear-shaped cookies and sell them around campus or hold a spaghetti supper (at the right angle, looks like hair cells). The money raised can be used for chapter activities or to fund travel to AudiologyNOW!®.
- Give away earplugs
People love getting free stuff, so set up a time and place for your SAA chapter to give out donated earplugs to the public, and use the opportunity to educate every taker on the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. Outside of concert venues is a great place to start. Hint – make sure you have permission from event organizers and your local community.
- Raise money for charity
There are many opportunities for to raise money for charities that benefit individuals with hearing impairment and deafness, and help raise awareness of audiology in the process. For example, your SAA chapter can sell "butterfly badges" for the Deafness Research Foundation or participate in the Hearing Loss Association of America's Walk4Hearing® campaign.
- Sign up for a service learning project
Volunteering for a service learning project in your community is a great way for AuD students to use their audiology skills. For example, your SAA chapter members can volunteer to test hearing aids at assisted living facilities and retirement centers. Your clinical faculty can help you get started.
- Volunteer at a day camp
Day camps for children with hearing loss can be a great way for the children to meet others in their community who also have hearing impairment. And it's a win-win experience for SAA chapter members to use their audiology skills and make a difference in a child's life. Talk to your program faculty about volunteer opportunities.
- Get involved in Special Olympics
The national SAA has established an amazing relationship with the Special Olympics Healthy Hearing® program and it's easy to get involved – visit the Special Olympics Web site and click on the "Volunteer Near You" link. And be sure to check out the American Academy of Audiology Foundation's Special Olympics Healthy Hearing SAA Chapter Participation grants.
- Raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss
Your SAA chapter can help raise awareness about noise-induced hearing loss by going around to local summer camps or talking to children at your local schools. It's a great way to inform the next generation about the risks of hearing loss from our noisy environments. Check out the resources available through the American Academy of Audiology's Turn It To The Left campaign.
- Plan a mission trip
Your SAA chapter members can participate in a mission trip to provide audiologic care to an area where those in the community are less fortunate, whether in the states or in another country. Several hearing health care organizations and companies host mission trips. Your program faculty and your local area audiologists may already be involved or know where to start.
- And, just for fun, play the "name game"!
Get your SAA chapter on a hunt to find places (restaurants, venues, etc.) that have names somehow related to audiology. Then hold gatherings at each of the places throughout the year. What a fun way to get to know one another and spread the word about audiology in your community.
These are all great ways to help raise money for your SAA chapter, get involved in the community, raise awareness of hearing loss, practice your skills, and get to know each other better through social events. Hopefully, you can make use of these ideas and add your own to the list as you expand your chapter and become more involved!