SVA’s Pressure Spike Sand Volleyball Tournament

For the third year in a row, UIWRSO’s Sports Vision Association (SVA) has hosted their annual Pressure Spike Sand Volleyball Tournament. Students from different levels of optometry school, friends, and family (as well as professors) come together to play and raise money for the SVA club. This year, SVA hopes to raise enough money to eventually bring a Sports Vision Training Clinic to RSO. It is a fun event full of friendly competition, sunrays, sand, and barbecue!

Students and professors make teams of at least six and are able to create their own, unique team names. Each team played a guaranteed two games, and after several rounds of volleyball (including a loser’s bracket), the winners of this year’s tournament were the Casual Sets! Winners of the tournament received a cash prize and bragging rights until next year.  It is a great way for us to relax and enjoy time with both our classmates and faculty of RSO!

Here is just a sneak peak into the fun at the tournament!

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COVD Annual Golf Tournament

On Saturday, October 17th, UIWRSO’s student chapter of COVD (College of Optometrists in Vision Development) held their annual Golf Tournament at the beautiful Silverhorn Golf Club. This event is held to raise awareness and fundraise money to offer scholarships to children who are in need of vision therapy or comprehensive binocular vision evaluations. Even though I occasionally play golf, I have never participated in this event before, but decided this was the year I attempted an 18-hole course with my classmates!

The event started early with lunch and free balls to use at the range until the actual tournament started. Every team had a group of four, and every two people were supplied with a golf cart. Everyone also received bags that included balls, tees, a towel, among other goodies to help us through the day. Once we had warmed up on the range, the tournament was ready to start! All teams were sent to different holes, so that everyone would continuously play and finish around the same time. In addition to having prizes for first, second, and third place, there were also two other prizes up for grabs: one for the player with the closest to the pin, and another for the player with the longest drive, which our teammate happened to receive! The rules for this game of golf included a “scramble” which means everyone takes a shot, but the team starts playing from the best or furthest ball on each stroke. Teams wrote down their scores and then met at the end of the day to see who won! The winner’s of this year tournament included Kyle Thaxton, Sarah Flanagan, Scott Gorton, and Dr. Mervyn Bloom with 52 strokes throughout the 18-hole course.

Besides raising money through the golf tournament itself, COVD also raised money by raffling off prizes that included everything from a TV to gift cards, to hotel rooms. I, actually won a prize this year and got a month’s membership to a gym! This raffle is one of the biggest of the year throughout our school, so it was a great time to see who won all the prizes. I have to admit that this was one of the best school events I have ever gone to. It was great having a sun-filled day with my classmates while contributing to the UIW Eye Institute Vision Therapy Clinic.

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Dining in the Dark

“Dining in the Dark” is an annual event that UIWRSO’s student chapter of SVOSH (Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) hosts in order to fundraise for the World Sight Day Challenge. This is a global campaign run by Optometry Giving Sight, a charity who hopes to help the more than 600 million people worldwide who are blind or vision impaired because they do not have access to an eye exam or glasses. 100 percent of the proceeds that came from this event went directly to this campaign, which is why it is such an important event for UIWRSO.

The room was beautifully decorated, and at each table there was a little blindfold in front of each plate, which we used to cover our eyes to simulate eating as a visually impaired or blind person. Everyone found their seats and volunteers to the event served drinks and bread. Nicole Fee, president of the RSO SVOSH chapter, gave a presentation about what World Sight Day is and how Dining in the Dark helps to benefit Optometry Giving Sight.

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There were also two guest speakers, Ricky Ruzicka, and Jose Martinez from Lighthouse for the Blind. Both of these speakers talked about their experience with their visual impairment. Ricky has Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, which he was not diagnosed with until his early twenties, and Jose has a form of Retinitis Pigmentosa, something he was born with. Both of these speakers gave us great insight to what it is like to have a visual impairment, whether you are born with it or develop it later in life. They gave us great information about what kind of devices and services are available to people with blindness. They also answered several questions about their daily lives, such as what kind of programs are available for them in school or how they learned how to ride the bus.

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Next, the eating began! The food was catered by Carraba’s Italian Grill. Eating pasta and salad might be easy when you have sight, but when that is taken away, it is definitely a challenge! Everyone was instructed to put on their blindfolds and eat their meal as they normally would. The lights were also turned off at this point. I definitely had to rely on my other senses, especially touch, to find what I was looking for. It was much more difficult than I thought it would be! After taking off the blindfold, I could see a lot of food around my plate; I guess I am not the best at this!

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At the same time, a silent auction was happening close-by, which was also used to raise money for Optometry Giving Sight. Some of the items up for auction (which were generously donated) included a LASIK procedure provided by Dr. Parkhurst and Nuvision, a new iPad Air, designer sunglasses, and vouchers for our own UIWRSO optical. SVOSH also raised money by having a raffle, giving away items such as a Keurig and gift cards.

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This was a fantastic event to attend. Not only did SVOSH raise a huge amount of money for this wonderful charity, I also got to see students, faculty, and friends coming together to participate and have fun in something they believe in, helping others through the gift of sight.