Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Chapter Book Drives Promote Literacy and a Love of Learning

Between February and April this spring, 19 Phi Kappa Phi chapters across the country engaged the community of scholars in service by holding book drives to collect as many books as possible for beneficiary organizations in members’ communities. The book drives were held at both colleges and universities, small and large, representing all five Phi Kappa Phi regions. Beneficiary organizations chosen by the chapters ranged from schools to libraries to hospitals to a tribal college to a correctional center to other non-profit organizations like shelters, tutoring and mentoring programs, and even an overseas beneficiary.

One chapter creatively used collected
books as centerpieces at their
spring initiation ceremony.
In all, the 19 participating chapters collected nearly 7,000 books. Participants agree that the book drives made the chapters more visible on campus to both current and future Phi Kappa Phi members. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Student Vice President Ashley Weckesser shared, “The giving spirit of our chapter's members really showed throughout the book drive.” The UNLV chapter held a kickoff event for their book drive, which in part benefitted the local community libraries. At the kickoff, the librarian with whom they collaborated spoke about the need for books in the Henderson District Public Libraries and how much the future donation would mean to them and to the community.

Other chapters also encouraged campus participation via colorful posters in highly-utilized areas, centrally-located collection sites, stories in the campus newspapers, calls-to-donate via the campus e-mail system, and word of mouth. In describing the key to their success, chapter President Heather Davis of Texas Woman’s University noted, “There seemed to be a correlation between personal touch and contributions. I think it raised the profile of the book drive and of course, helped spread the word about Phi Kappa Phi!”

The Council of Students, who sponsored and managed this inaugural national Phi Kappa Phi Book Drive Competition, selected five winners of the competition, among the chapters whose book drives collected the most donations:

  • Florida Atlantic University
  • North Dakota State University 
  • Texas Woman's University
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas 
  • Youngstown State University
Little Free Library

These chapters will receive a “Little Free Library” and $150 for personalizing the Little Free Library. The concept of the Little Free Library is a “’take a book, return a book’ gathering place” in a community—a prize that fits in well with Phi Kappa Phi’s love of learning and love of literacy. The chapters will decide where to place their Little Free Libraries—where on their campuses or in their local communities.

Other chapters that hosted a book drive include Brenau University; California State University, Sacramento; Campbell University; East Carolina University; Eastern Kentucky University; Elmhurst College; Idaho State University; Kennesaw State University; Louisiana State University; University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of Louisiana-Lafayette; University of Memphis; University of South Carolina-Upstate; and Western Washington University.

“The Council would like to thank all the chapters for participating in this book drive,” said Council of Students member and book drive chair Brittany Neaves. “You have helped encourage a love of learning and enabled access to opportunities that can last a lifetime!”

Chapters interested in learning more about these chapters’ book drives or conducting their own book drives or service projects can contact Karen Powell.

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