April 17, 2009
Fundraiser hits all new heightsWomenSpeak is hosting a fundraiser for Sexual Assault Awareness in which five Susquehanna students and one alumna raise money to skydive on April 25 at the Chambersburg Skydiving Center.
Operation Freefall, the commonly-used name for the event, is a nationwide fundraiser that was started in 2001.
Kellie Greene, the founder of Operation Freefall, acknowledged the anniversary of her rape by making her first skydive.
This event began simply by raising awareness of sexual violence, but over the past few years it has become a major fundraising event throughout the nation.
Operation Freefall has raised more than $1 million in funds since 2001, two-thirds of which goes back to local community organizations. This is the third year that students from Susquehanna have participated in the nationwide event.
WomenSpeak helped seniors Amanda Moser, Tara Moylan, Vishal Vaswani and Austin Ulsh, and sophomore Karen Ward, as well as alumna Christina Behnke '08, to raise the minimum $600 apiece for the jump this year by selling T-shirts in the lower level of the Degenstein Campus Center.
Together, those students have raised more than $3,000 for sex-ual assault awareness.
A portion of the money will be used to cover the cost of the jump at the Chambersburg Skydiving Center, a designated "drop zone," located about 100 miles southwest of Selinsgrove.
Another portion of the money will be given to the national campaign, Speaking Out About Rape (SOAR).
The final portion of the money will be sent to Susquehanna Valley's Women in Transition group, which is the local host for female victims of substance abuse, domestic violence and other relationship problems.
Senior Tara Moylan will be jumping this year for the first time.
"The only way I could do this is for a cause," said Moylan.
Amanda Moser, senior and co-project manager of WomenSpeak, has participated in this fundraiser every year since her freshman year at Susquehanna.
When asked about her previous skydiving experiences, Moser said, "It was scary and exciting at the same time."
"Let me put it this way: it's the closest you could get to flying," Moser added.
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