University of Arizona’s Pi Beta Phi chapter will host a tent during the Tucson Festival of Books March 2-3, as the festival coincides with their chapter’s philanthropic Day of Service.
Skyler Kopit, a junior and second-year active member, stayed in Tucson for spring break in order to help at the 2018 Festival of Books Pi Beta Phi tent.
“It was a great experience,” she said. “I had so much fun doing it, and I met a lot of people through it … That was definitely a highlight of my spring break.”
Pi Beta Phi, also known as Pi Phi, is one of the only student organizations to participate in the Festival of Books. The chapter philanthropic initiative, Read > Lead > Achieve, promotes a lifelong love of literacy, so participation in the festival is fitting for the chapter.
“I think it’s so cool – it’s cool how [the festival] goes hand in hand with our philanthropy … It’s cool that Tucson does something so close to us that we are able to participate in,” said Jenny Gould, a freshman and first-year member of Pi Beta Phi.
Last year, Pi Phi’s tent offered children the chance to take home free books from Pi Phi’s in-chapter book drive. The donated books were at various reading levels. Children, with the help of their parents, can choose the right book for them.
“These kids could come and take as many books as they would like, and it was really special,” Kopit said of last year’s festival distribution.
This year’s festival, along with more book donations, will feature activities for the children to enjoy, including coloring sheets, bookmarks, book plates and literacy games.
“We’re going to have little rhyming games and spelling games, and we’re going to have bubbles,” said Grace Musfeldt, the current vice president of philanthropy for the fraternity. “They’re going to try to see how many words they can spell before the bubbles pop, and then we have prizes and goodies for them afterwards.”
Gould is one of this year’s activities co-chairs and was able to help plan the activities for the festival.
“We have these little book plates which kids can go up and decorate and do whatever they want with, and then they can stick it to – we’re going to have a wall set up, so they can stick it and put their name on it and see that they were a part of it,” Gould said.
This year, UA Pi Beta Phi was awarded the opportunity to distribute 20,000 books to recipients in need in the community. In addition to giving out books during the festival, the UA Pi Phi chapter will be holding their Day of Service book drive on Feb. 28 and March 1.
Even a 20,000 book donation hasn’t stopped the UA chapter from holding their own book drive and distribution of over 200 books to Drachman Montessori Magnet School, Musfeldt said.
“A couple teachers came in and said they have students that need [the books] more than others, so they took a bunch,” Musfelft said. “The rest just went to wherever the school wanted them.”
According to Kopit, Gould and Musfeldt, one of the most rewarding parts of their philanthropy is the ability to work hands on in the community.
“In addition to the festival, we also have the Champions Are Readers program, so we go to Robison Elementary and we read and help kids with different activities,” Kopit said. “So that is definitely one of my favorite parts, just because it’s so hands on and you get to build relationships with the kids.”
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