Pi Beta Phi Combats Lack of Literacy

One of the most important aspects of sorority life is the dedication we all have to philanthropy. Our organizations were formed with the intention to give back, and it is incredible to see all of the organizations that are helped through sorority women and their chapters. 

For Pi Beta Phi, philanthropy is a little closer to our hearts. As an organization founded on the value of philanthropic service to others, we are extremely dedicated to our cause. In addition to our philanthropic values, Pi Beta Phi is also one of the only sororities who have created their own philanthropic foundation. Read > Lead > Achieve and the Pi Beta Phi Foundation were founded by Pi Beta Phi women because of their dedication to literacy education. Back in 1867 when Pi Phi was founded, there was a lack of literacy in our country. Many women and children were not given the opportunity to learn to read and write, and the founders of Pi Phi made it their mission to correct this inequality.

The Indiana Theta chapter of Pi Beta Phi at Valparaiso University channels this mission of our founders in our philanthropic work. We host multiple events each year to bring awareness to literacy education. Our biggest, and my favorite, event is our annual Mr. Pi Phi competition. Each year, we ask the 8 fraternities on our campus to choose a representative to compete in three competitions. The first round is speed reading to see who can read the most pages in 30 seconds; the second is a talent portion, and the third is Pi Beta Phi and Literacy jeopardy. While the fraternity men compete in these competitions, each sorority chooses a representative to be a judge. The men are given points for each competition and there is one decided winner, which gives their fraternity the name of Mr. Pi Phi.

I love this event because we are able to raise awareness and money to such a great cause, and we also bring our fraternity and sorority together for a fun night as well.

Another event we host is Lemonade for Literacy. Since September is Literacy Month, we host a table in our Student Union and give out lemonade and literacy facts to the students who pass by. This event is intended to solely raise awareness and spread the word about the lack of literacy education in the United States.

Finally, our third event is our annual Book Drive. In the spring semester, we host a table in the Student Union and ask our peers to either drop off children’s books or make a donation. We take these donations and buy books, and then we drop all of them off at Hilltop Neighborhood House, which is a low-income community daycare down the road from campus. When we drop off the books, we are able to see our work in action; we read to the children and color bookmarks with them.

All of these events truly make up our sorority experience at Valparaiso University. We are extremely dedicated to philanthropic service, and although COVID-19 may change the way we are able to give back this year, we are ready to put our thinking caps on and continue our work to ensure every child is able to learn to read.

Xx, Nichole Mitchell

Valparaiso University, Pi Beta Phi


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