What I’ve Learned about Sincere Friendship through my Internship at Pi Beta Phi HQ

This post is courtesy of Maryland Gamma Emily Karcher, Pi Beta Phi Foundation Intern.

Emily (center) with her Maryland Gamma Chapter sisters. Photo credit: Jenny Wagner

Emily (center) with her Maryland Gamma sisters. Photo credit: Jenny Wagner

Hello blog readers! My name is Emily and I’m interning this summer at Pi Beta Phi HQ for the Foundation. Here’s a little about me … by the numbers.

20        years of age

18        years lived in St. Louis, Missouri

6          states between home and school: Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore (go Blue Jays!)

3          courses of study: English Literature, Entrepreneurship & Management, Visual Arts

150      Maryland Gamma chapter sisters

1          daily vanilla latte

4          novels in my purse at once

13        “To Do” lists on my iPhone

57        days working at HQ

0          days of real understanding about Pi Beta Phi Foundation (prior to my internship)

This summer has been a whirlwind, not only because I’ve been traveling for this internship (I got to go to convention in Chicago and attend the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute® on a Foundation scholarship!) but because of the sheer amount of information I’ve been learning about Pi Beta Phi and the Foundation.

Before coming to intern this summer, I admittedly didn’t know much about what the Foundation does or how it’s organized. I knew it was where chapter, club and individual donations went sure, but I didn’t realize just how much good it does for Pi Phi as an organization and its membership.

In my short time at the Foundation so far, it has been absolutely incredible to hear of (and get to be a part of!) all the ways donors to the Foundation are impacting the lives of our sisters and their communities, especially through the Emma Harper Turner Fund Program.

An integral part of the EHT Fund is its anonymous nature — each confidential application received is reviewed by a committed group of Pi Phi volunteers who put forth recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for grants. I had a chance to sit down with Indiana Delta Shannon O’Donnell Ross, the new Chairman of the EHT Fund Committee, to find out more. To Shannon, seeing sisters in need receive grants is indescribably gratifying. A simple question of hers spoke volumes: “What better way to show our sincere friendship than to provide an avenue to help our sisters when they need it most?”

She’s right!

Shannon helped me realize how much of a lifeline EHT Fund grants can be, and how it’s sincere friendship in action. These grants are only possible because of our sisters’ compassion for one another.

For example, sisters like you helped an alumna sister with a grant right before she lost her battle with cancer. The grant helped relieve her family’s financial burden of laying her to rest. You also helped a collegiate Pi Phi with a grant after one of her parent’s unexpected death, which jeopardized her ability to stay in school.

We know there are more sisters out there who need our help … but we can’t help them unless they apply for a grant.

Will you help us inform sisters about these available grants? Please share this blog or use one of the sample posts below to spread the word about these life-changing grants.

Facebook: Do you know a Pi Phi sister in need? Pi Beta Phi Foundation’s Emma Harper Turner Fund Program provides grants to sisters facing crises like medical emergencies, job loss, natural disaster or other life-changing circumstances. Visit https://pibetaphifoundation.org/programs/emma-harper-turner-fund to learn more.

Twitter: Do you know a sister in need? @pibetaphifndn provides relief for sisters facing crises through its EHT Fund. https://pibetaphifoundation.org/programs/emma-harper-turner-fund

Thank you, sisters, for being there when our sisters have nowhere to turn, and for teaching me a little more about the value of sincere friendship. Ring Ching!

Walking where the Founders Walked

Heather Miller headshotThis post is courtesy of Heather Wilson Miller, New Mexico Beta, as part of the Convention 2015 guest blogger series.

The last five days have been an amazing experience! I thought that maybe because this was my second convention, that it wouldn’t be quite as exciting or fun as my first convention in San Diego. I was wrong and I’ll admit it. It just keeps getting better, my sister! My first convention was a little overwhelming with the many scheduled items on the agenda, and I think my eyes were just wide open taking everything in. But in Chicago, I was able to enjoy and get even more out of each event knowing what to expect. My prevailing thought throughout convention as we were enjoying the inspiring speakers, the award presentations, the breakout leadership sessions and the fellowship time with our sisters, is that all of these experiences fall under the umbrella of sincere friendship. Sincere friendship drives our desire to become the best leaders we can be to make our chapters and clubs the best they can be and to foster an environment where each member feels that she is valued and welcomed in the bonds of the wine and blue.

IMG_2464But enough sappy… (by the way, did everyone else find themselves tearing up at almost everything on Monday or was it just me? I told myself it was because I was just tired so my emotions were running high, but we all know that’s not the only reason). Moving on to the fun! How awesome is Libbie and the Ring Ching Roadshow? Fingers crossed that she makes it to Phoenix at some point during the next two years! I already had my first meeting with her at Holt House on Monday (more about that coming). A trivia tidbit….do you know why she is named Libbie? And yes, you are correct that she is named after founder Libbie Brook Gaddis. But did you know that Libbie Brook Gaddis is known as the traveling Pi Phi? She was responsible for the founding of our second chapter at Iowa Wesleyan College and she also traveled to attend several conventions during her lifetime.

IMG_2459Yesterday, I had the pleasure of traveling to Monmouth College and Holt House which are located in Monmouth, Illinois. After three hours of sleep (eck!), we boarded a bus for over a three hour drive to Monmouth (whew, nap time). At our arrival at Monmouth College, we were greeted by college personnel and enjoyed a great buffet lunch. Many of us (including me) ate the fastest lunch in history in order to shop at the Monmouth bookstore.

Our tour started with a stop at the cemetery to visit the final resting place of five of our founders. Each of their headstones was marked by a plaque placed by the Monmouth historical society declaring them a founder of Pi Beta Phi. The tour had been very thoughtfully arranged with volunteers stationed at each gravesite who told us a little about the life of each founder.

IMG_2490And then on to (drumroll…….) Holt House! Seriously?!? This is like a huge check on my lifetime bucket list. And not only did I get to visit Holt House, but I did it with two of our most beloved members, Sis Mullis and Fran Becque! Yes, I am a very lucky girl! Sis was on my bus and during the ride she took the time to stop by each seat to introduce herself and find out a little bit about each of us. Talk about a phenomenal role model and leader! I’m taking notes. On to our Holt House visit. We were greeted by Denise Turnbull, Holt House Curator, who gave us the back ground and history on this historic building. Recognize her famous last name? Through marriage, she is a member of the Turnbull family and an honor initiate of Pi Beta Phi. After her welcome, she gave us free reign to explore the house on our own.

IMG_2520My first stop was to sign the guest register and explore the first floor of the house. The bottom floor is used by many local groups to hold wedding receptions, baby showers and other celebrations. I then headed up to the second floor to see THE BEDROOM. The front left bedroom of the house is where Ada Bruen and Libbie Brooke rented a room while they attended Monmouth College. On April 28, 1867, Ada and Libbie gathered in this bedroom with 10 of their friends to form I.C. Sorosis which eventually became Pi Beta Phi. I sat on the floor with several others to get a feel of what that meeting must have been like.

After exploring the rest of the house, I went outside to start taking photos. And I don’t think that other than at a wedding, have I ever seen so many snaps from cameras! Wow! No wonder almost every person on our bus had their phone run totally out of battery on our bus ride back to Chicago.

I got so excited telling you about our Monmouth and Holt House tour that I almost forgot to mention the upcoming 2017 Convention. I’m supposed to tell you why you should attend, but you really don’t need me to do that. In case you have been living under a rock, in 2017 we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of Pi Beta Phi and convention is going to be the ultimate party! It will be held in St. Louis, the city that serves as our Fraternity Headquarters. Who wouldn’t want to be there?! It is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend! I know I will be there, and I hope you will too!

Well, this is my last blog post but it has been so much fun to bring you all the inside scoop from convention this year. I am very grateful for this opportunity. Have a wonderful rest of your summer my angel friends and can’t wait to see you all in 2017!


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