About AFA on Campus
AFA on Campus is a division of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) that caters exclusively to students at colleges and universities across the country in an effort to engage them in awareness-raising activities and to groom tomorrow’s leaders in the Alzheimer’s community.
AFA on Campus is an offshoot of the foundation’s AFA Teens division, providing an opportunity for individuals who have been involved in the cause as teens to continue their efforts as they move on to higher education.
AFA on Campus Objectives
With student involvement, AFA on Campus hopes to:
- Provide education, counseling and support to college students and their families
- Create support networks for students coping with Alzheimer’s disease in their families while attending college
- Spread awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses at colleges and universities nationwide
- Help support the mission and services of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America
- Build on the momentum of AFA Teens, providing an outlet for college students who were active in the cause as teenagers
- Groom the next generation of Alzheimer’s disease activists
- Provide meaningful volunteer opportunities
- Interest students in healthcare careers
- Raise public awareness of the necessity of youth involvement
- Foster intergenerational communication and understanding
Get Involved With AFA on Campus
- Start an AFA on Campus chapter at your college or university.
- Volunteer. Click here for a list of suggested volunteer activities or here to find an AFA member organization near your college or university.
- Hold a fundraiser at your college or university. Click here for suggestions on how to hold an AFA on Campus fundraiser.
- Take our AFA on Campus Alzheimer’s Disease Survey .
- Read the AFA on Campus Blog .
- Contact AFA on Campus if you have questions.
- give back to the Alzheimer’s community;
- raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and related illnesses;
- lend a helping hand to peers who have or had a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia; and
- gain meaningful leadership and volunteer experience.
Step 1: Often, your college or university will have specific guidelines for starting a club or organization at your school. AFA recommends contacting the student activities office or other appropriate office to obtain these guidelines and review them before submitting an application to AFA on Campus to start a chapter.
Step 2: To start the process with AFA of forming an AFA on Campus chapter, please contact us.
Step 3: Some schools may also require their own application in order to start a club, as well as a constitution for your new organization. Please click here for AFA’s sample constitution, which includes language regarding the AFA on Campus mission and procedures for chapter meetings.
Step 4: AFA offers an AFA on Campus online handbook to distribute to prospective chapter members so that they may become familiar with AFA and the objectives of AFA on Campus.
AFA values the efforts of its collegiate volunteers and recognizes the tremendous impact these chapters can make in the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We’re here to ensure your chapter’s success. Please don’t hesitate to contact AFA with any questions or suggestions: 866.232.8484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the 2011 AFA on Campus Advisory Board
Breanna Bishop- Detroit, MI
Breanna is connected to Alzheimer’s disease in a very personal way: her grandmother had the disease for almost 10 years and passed away in January 2010. Motivated to become involved with AFA on Campus as a result of this firsthand experience, she wants to use her own family story to help other young people and raise awareness of this disease.
Breanna is a sophomore at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, and is studying journalism. There, in addition to her involvement with AFA on Campus, she participates in a student organization called W.I.L.D. (Women’s Initiative in Leadership Development).
Andrew Hsu- Fremont, CA
Andrew served on the AFA Teens Advisory Board during the 2009-2010 school year and now is continuing his volunteer efforts in college as a member of the AFA on Campus Advisory Board while studying chemical biology as a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, CA.
While Andrew does not have a personal connection to the disease, his love of helping others understand and cope through tough times when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has prompted his involvement with AFA.
Andrew volunteers at the local community hospital, where he has worked in the emergency room, the intensive care unit and the coronary care unit, and has assisted as a receptionist and at the information booth. He also hopes to do research related to Alzheimer’s disease.
Andrew is active in the American Red Cross, the American Medical Student Association, and the Associated Students of the University of California in the Office of the President. In addition, he is a part of Tzu-Chi, The Music Connection, the Asian American Health Society, and the UC Haiti Initiative.
Natalie Innocenzi- Arcadia, CA
Natalie is majoring in communicative disorders at the University of Redlands, Redlands, CA, where she is a sophomore.
Natalie got involved with Alzheimer’s disease after her grandmother was diagnosed with the brain disorder. According to Natalie, her grandmother “was and still is her role model and the closest person” in her life. Seeing her grandmother struggle every day inspires Natalie to raise awareness about this heartbreaking disease.
Throughout high school, Natalie was extremely active in the cause, including starting an AFA Teens chapter at her high school in the fall 2008 and working at various senior centers. Her chapter’s signature activity was an Alzheimer’s Awareness Week at her school, during which she sold T-shirts that said “ always remember those who can’t” and held an assembly that included a speaker from an AFA member organization.
She took her awareness-raising to a whole new level when she was selected queen of the 2010 Tournament of Roses and reigned over the 2010 Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. As queen, she made Alzheimer’s Awareness her platform at more than 165 speaking engagements.
At college, she is currently involved in various clubs, such as social affairs and the 2014 Society. She is also an ambassador for prospective incoming students, including serving as an overnight host. She loves to play tennis and will join Alpha Theta Phi sorority in the fall.
Elizabeth Owens- North Wales, PA
Elizabeth attends the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, where she takes part in the Phi Mu sorority and is on its philanthropy committee.
She came across AFA Teens her senior year in high school when she learned about the AFA Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship. Her grandpa had Alzheimer's disease for five years, and it took a toll on the whole family. After his recent passing, Elizabeth was more motivated than ever to become involved in the Alzheimer's community and applied to become a member of the AFA on Campus Advisory Board.
Before starting college last year, she was a member of student government and the National Honor Society in high school.
Megan Parsons- Fowler, MI
Megan served on the AFA Teens Advisory Board last year, providing enormous insight for the future growth of AFA on Campus.
Although Megan does not have a relative with Alzheimer’s disease, she is moved by the struggles endured by individuals with the disease and their families. As a freshman at Harvard University, she plans to continue her involvement with the cause and become even more involved through research on neurodegenerative diseases.
Megan is a graduate of the School for Ethics and Global Leadership in Washington, D.C., a semester-long leadership program. Although she is primarily interested in the sciences, her experiences in Washington, D.C., showed her how collaborative efforts between science and policy are vital to propel scientific interests forward. She believes that this approach, in combination with education, outreach, and compassionate care, will be the most effective way to combat Alzheimer’s disease.
University of North Carolina--Charlotte: Fall 2012
Allison Jensen, a junior at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in Charlotte, established an AFA on Campus chapter at the university this fall—and already has 14 members on board. And the chapter recently held its first event: on November 11, about 25 students attended a ceremony on campus as part of AFA’s annual National Commemorative Candle Lighting during National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
Jensen’s interest in AFA on Campus came from her experience as one of the primary caregivers for her grandmother, who lived with Alzheimer’s disease for seven years until her recent passing. Realizing that many of her peers did not understand Alzheimer’s disease, Jensen recognized a need to educate fellow students and other people her age about the brain disorder and the toll it takes on families, including young caregivers.
“During my grandma’s course with this disease, I made a promise to her that I would do everything in my power to educate more people about this illness, continue my fundraising efforts, and hopefully one day be a part of the team that finds both the cause and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s disease,” said Jensen, who is majoring in public health and minoring in gerontology.
The chapter president has grand plans for AFA on Campus at UNC-Charlotte. She hopes to make the student organization a place on campus where young adults with Alzheimer’s disease in their families can reach out for guidance and peer support. She also plans to organize creative fundraisers at the school and involve students in the AFA Quilt to Remember.
College of the Holy Cross – Fall 2012
In an effort to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among college students, Victoria Aramini recently established an AFA on Campus chapter at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.
The junior, whose grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease, kicked off AFA on Campus events at the college this November for National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The chapter hosted an Alzheimer’s Awareness Day, providing educational materials about Alzheimer’s disease, and encouraging students to sign AFA’s Stop Alzheimer’s Now petition , which u rges policymakers to follow through on the funding and implementation of the historic National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.
With 20 members already on board, Aramini plans to make the AFA on Campus chapter at College of the Holy Cross a vehicle in which students can find emotional support and can volunteer at local long-term care residences and senior centers that serve people with Alzheimer’s disease.
“I want the general student body to become aware of what a pressing issue Alzheimer’s is,” she said. “By failing to recognize the disease and its effects, it can appear as though the disease is not severe or traumatizing, and this is certainly not the case.”
University of South Carolina-Fall 2011
A student at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC has established the nation’s first official AFA on Campus chapter—and it’s off to a running start.
Since the start of the semester, the chapter has grown to 30 members and has held several events to raise awareness on campus and in the surrounding community.
Elizabeth Owens, a sophomore and the chapter’s president, said starting the chapter has enabled her “to spread my passion for educating people about Alzheimer's disease and provide other college students with opportunities to get involved in the Alzheimer's community.”
“Many people don't realize how significantly college-aged people are being affected by this disease in their everyday and family lives,” she suggested. “While college often puts distance between us and our loved ones who are suffering from the disease it shouldn't make us any less proactive for the cause and with AFA on Campus we have been able to continue to work for the cause regardless of how far away from home we are.”
As its first activity, the group invited a few local caregivers to speak to members about their experiences with loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, and to offer suggestions on ways the chapter can volunteer to help the community.
In the near future, the chapter plans to volunteer at an Alzheimer's care facility; answer the caregiver phone line run by a local organization; and sponsor a presentation on successful caregiving.
Owens has been interviewed about the chapter by local and national media, and has been contacted by other college students interested in starting AFA on Campus groups on their campuses.
“It has been a rewarding experience putting together this organization and watching it get off the ground,” said Owens.
Redlands, CA—Fall 2011
Natalie Innocenzi, a member of the AFA on Campus Advisory Board, has been working with her sorority, Alpha Theta Phi, at the University of Redlands in Redlands, CA to organize a variety of events to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among her sorority members and the university at large.
Recently, the college sophomore organized a book drive with her sorority members and collected more than 200 books that have been donated to Visiting Angels, a local home care agency.
According to Innocenzi, “It was a huge success and Visiting Angels was so thankful and pleased to see all the donations!”
Her new member class also hosted a small private remembrance for individuals with Alzheimer's disease. In the near future, she hopes to expand this by holding a candle light vigil with all of her sorority sisters.
Innocenzi’s activism on campus follows her tenure as president of an AFA Teens chapter at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada, CA.