Ever since attending the 2015 Convention, the Indianapolis Alumnae Club knew they wanted to do something special for Pi Phi’s 150th. It was at convention that the Ring Ching Roadshow car, “Libbie,” was revealed during the final banquet. The club’s leadership realized that night that Pi Phi’s 150th is a BIG DEAL and decided they absolutely wanted to have the Ring Ching Roadshow stop in Indy.
After much discussion and planning with Daphney, the Ring Ching Roadshow’s driver, the club learned that “Libbie” was going to stop in Indy in October 2016. The club decided to coincide their 2016–2017 club year kickoff event with “Libbie’s” visit. It was decided the 150th event would be a photoshoot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) followed by a dessert reception at the Indiana Gamma Chapter House at Butler University. The IMS is the world’s oldest continuously operated race course and the site of the largest one-day sports event anywhere, the Indianapolis 500.
The club started promoting the 150th event last year. At each club meeting, the women displayed an oversized poster with a photo of “Libbie” and the caption “Ring Ching Roadshow — Indy Style.” Each club meeting included an announcement that club members should stay tuned for details about the upcoming 150th event. Formal planning meetings began about two months before the event took place. The planning committee included members of the Indianapolis Alumnae Club, members of the Indiana Gamma Chapter and members of Indiana Gamma’s Alumnae Advisory Committee.
Club members received printed invitations to the event as part of the club’s annual mailing in August 2016. The newsletter included a special section highlighting the 150th event and a RSVP card requesting members to send in their RSVP via mail, email or telephone. The event information was also sent via an email blast and promoted on the club’s website and Facebook page.
The Indiana Gamma Chapter President and Vice President of Event Planning were instrumental in getting the chapter engaged in the event. The club made special invitations for the collegians and then passed them out at chapter meetings. The planning committee also attended a chapter meeting two weeks before the event to remind the chapter of final details. At that meeting, the club surprised the chapter with a 4 ft. x 8 ft. 150th-themed banner to hang on the front of the chapter house.
The day of the event, buses transported more than 100 alumnae and collegians back and forth from the Indiana Gamma Chapter house to the IMS. A professional photographer met the group at the IMS to take group photos. President of the IMS J. Douglas Boles, son of Indiana Gamma Susan Vandivier Boles, was on hand for the visit and even jumped in some of the photos, later posting them to his Twitter page.
The Pi Phis then returned to the Indiana Gamma Chapter house for a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and mini desserts. Tables were set with white and black linens with silver accents, wine-colored linen napkins, 150th programs and simple centerpieces of floating wine-colored Gerber daises. The club also ordered wine-colored 150th cocktail napkins for the event, which were set on the buffet tables. The women sang Ring, Ching, Ching and had a 150th toast using sparkling white grape juice in plastic fluted glasses.
The event concluded with a book donation to three worthy recipient groups: Clarence Farrington Elementary School, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and School on Wheels, a nonprofit that tutors children and mentors parents impacted by homelessness. Each book had a Pi Beta Phi bookplate placed on the inside. The sizable donation of books was made possible by the volunteer hours and donations of Indianapolis Alumnae Club members.
Lastly, the club was able to put on this event thanks to the sponsorship of College Chefs LLC. The company provides daily meals to the Indiana Gamma Chapter and wanted to honor such a significant accomplishment as 150 years. They provided the food for the reception and underwrote the school bus that transported the collegians to the IMS. This generous sponsorship allowed the club to use its programming budget to pay for the second bus, the decorations and the banner for the chapter house. It also allowed the event to be free for all attendees, both alumnae and collegians.
To learn more about Pi Beta Phi’s 150th Celebration, and how you can plan your own 150th event, please visit www.pibetaphi.org/150.
Did you host a 150th event and want to share what your chapter or club did? Please email your story and high-resolution photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.