OT scholarships funded by antique book sale

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Hannah Feakes

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Members of The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) and additional volunteers spent over 14 hours picking out antique books to be organized, priced and sold in preparation for the antique book fair. The fair was held this past Thursday, according to Felicia Duch, junior occupational therapy major.

SOTA sponsored an antique book fair in the Carl Hansen Student Center on Oct. 27 to raise money for both the Occupational Therapy Centennial Scholarship Fund and the South Congregational Church in Middletown, Connecticut. Joe and Trudy Rumberger were the owners of all the books. The couple, now in their 90s and end of life care, wanted to donate the books to students and faculty members who will appreciate them.

By then end of the fair, the group had sold 130 books and made $812. Half will be donated to the scholarship fund and the other half will go to the church.

“The couple donating the books have cherished these books for many years and have so many stories and have so much to say about every single one,” Duch said. “Being able to pass along these books to new owners to have new experiences is a gift.”

Books that were for sale at the fair dated back to as early as the late 1800s and ranged in various genres including anthropology, cultural studies, history, and poetry.

The Rumbergers have wanted to host a book fair on campus since the beginning of the semester. Duch and fellow volunteers have worked to make the fair a reality.

Duch met the Rumbergers through the Occupational Therapy Service Learning course that is offered at Quinnipiac. The coordinator of the event, Norene Carlson, introduced the occupational therapy students to Home Health Care and the vitality of keeping individuals in their homes for as long as possible, according to Duch.

Duch and her classmates are also working with a service learning group for their required occupational therapy course, Occupational Therapy Framework. The group of 11 students have worked with this couple for about seven weeks.

SOTA has gone to the couple’s home and worked with them to do things that insurance doesn’t typically cover. They’ve cleaned, cooked, made sure there is enough space in their house for the couple to move around and now they’ve put on a book fair, according to Duch.

“I must have made an offhand comment about wanting to get rid of my books, and it’s difficult to do,” Joe Rumberger said. “It is no longer difficult, [the students] did all of the work. Also, mentally and psychologically, it was a wonderful release. I knew that they would be sold at an educational institution and would [cater to] a clientele that would be interested.”

The purpose of this event was not to sell books but to emphasize meaningful occupation, which includes education, social participation and leisure, according to Duch.

“One of the big movements of this century is to keep [elderly] people in their homes and living in their homes as long as possible. There are multiple branches of service learning but this particular branch that we are involved in, we try to make their home as adaptable as possible to whatever needs they might have,” Duch said.

The Rumbergers have even more books in their house to sell, according to Joe Rumberger.

“I’m not sure if we will have the time or interest to do another collection of sales,” Joe Rumberger said. “The raw material is there, if  [the students] don’t, I will have to somehow dispose of them eventually. Even though that is a painful process, when it’s done, it’s done and it doesn’t hurt but the anticipation of getting rid of books for a hoarder is tough.”

As a 90-year-old man, it is harder for Joe Rumberger to read and thinks it is time to give his beloved books a new home.

“I’ve read a lot of them, but some of them I haven’t read. I am not going to get around to reading them at this stage so I’d rather someone else does,” he said.