Team Up to Jazz Up Your Book Drive

Timothy Leonardby Timothy Leonard
Midwestern Region Student Representative, 2013-2015
Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne, IN

The majority of Sigma Tau Delta chapters have a book drive each year. However, many are looking for new and innovative ways to “jazz up” their drives beyond setting up a box in their department and hanging up flyers in the hope that students and faculty will donate books.

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Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Women’s Basketball Team

One suggestion is to partner with other groups and tap into the resources available at many universities. When I decided to run a book drive for my required service project as part of an internship, I contacted the head coach of the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) women’s basketball team and inquired about the possibility of the team helping to promote the book drive. I discovered the team also had to fulfill community service hours during their basketball season, and just that quick I had the partner I was looking for.

The project consisted of three parts:

  1. The IPFW women’s basketball team home games would be the drop off point for students, faculty, and fans to donate new and used books. The marketing department also announced the book drive during the home games to remind individuals in attendance to bring new and used books at the next home game.

  2. Members of my chapter worked the donations tables and assisted members of the basketball team in passing out and hanging up flyers.

  3. Members of my chapter and I dropped off the donated books at the local YMCA After School Program after the final home game. (We chose the YMCA because they complied with NCAA rules.)

Not only did I meet the requirements for my internship, I also involved my chapter and our university women’s basketball team in a successful book drive to enhance literacy in children’s lives.

I encourasticky_logoge all chapters to think of other groups at their university that might be willing to  collaborate on chapter projects. Many departments, athletic teams, and administrators must fulfill community service hours during the academic year, and most are willing to help and support each other. All you have to do is ask and be willing to perform the majority of the leg work. In the end, everyone benefits–you, your chapter, your partner(s), your school, and your community.

If you haven’t started a book drive for this semester, it’s not too late! Check out this opportunity to run an easy book drive with our strategic partner, Better World Books!

On Studying Abroad

Donald Brownby Donald Brown
Xi Kappa Chapter, Mississippi State University
Winner of the 2012-2013 Study Abroad Scholarship

I probably learned more during my study abroad experience at the University of Oxford than I have during my whole time living in the U.S. Learning to adjust to their culture gave me a great understanding of who I was, and who I am, as an American. By the time I was beginning to make Oxford my home, it was time to go back to America. I will, however, be returning next year for graduate studies.

During my time there (Trinity Term), I was able to experience the Oxbridge Tutorial system in which I met with a professor, John Ballam, once a week. I would read a play (e.g., Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, Merchant of Venice, etc), write an essay, and then would meet and discuss the essay I wrote. The intellectual community at the oldest university in the English-speaking world is, to say the least, exceptional.

dbrown-blog-pic1I also got to travel around England. Stonehenge is amazing. Though I went to London three times, I still feel like I only saw one-fourth of the city. I love visiting museums, and there are tons to go to there. In fact, many of them are free! From Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle to the Roman baths in Bath, England, the whole country amazed me. However, I must say the most amazing thing about my study abroad time was the pervasive sense of history that looms over England like a warm ghost.

I encourage anyone who has not gone out of the country to do so. You will be sure to learn a great deal about yourself, America, and the world-at-large.

Learn more about Donald’s study abroad experience on his blog, On the Grand Tour.

Applications for the Spring 2014 Study Abroad Scholarship are due April 1.

Parlez–vous touriste?

rwilloughbyby Russell Willoughby
Sigma Tau Delta Study Abroad Scholarship Winner
Phi Xi Chapter, University of Alabama

Though it seems like hardly a month ago, it has been almost a year since I applied for the Sigma Tau Delta Study Abroad Scholarship for a year-long program in Paris, France. The generous award funded no small portion of my program and expenses in what we all know as an (outrageously) pricey locale. Living in a city that remains—for so many people, spanning so many periods—a paradigm of glamour, culture, and exploration is, most days, incredibly daunting. There’s just something about Paris: a world capital that was both a haven for the intellectual bohemian set of the 1920s and a beacon of couture, the city somehow seems to revel in dichotomies, while also defying them.

Loire Valley region of France

Loire Valley region of France

Now that I am at the half-way mark (!) of my year-long program, I am able to rattle off recommendations for restaurants and arrondissements and bookstores and order my lunch with minimal embarrassment; yet, try as I might, I will never be able to fully remove my Americanness in favor of a haute couture French identity. But I don’t want to! Though I can call myself resident, I don’t underestimate the humbling power of also being touriste. Some of my best conversations with actual residents (i.e. Real Live French People) have been centered on a mutual eagerness to know each other’s cultures. The French have a reputation of being frosty to ex-pats and tourists alike, but my experiences have only been warm and—even more importantly—authentic.

Houses in Strasbourg, France

Houses in Strasbourg, France

More than focusing on having a “traditional study abroad experience” (whatever that means), I strongly encourage anyone considering it  to approach not only the decision but also everything that follows with a YES mentality, even—especially!—to the point of discomfort. Thanks to my new-found freedom from the fear of “awkward” (fittingly, there is no true translation in French) I have friends here from France, Belarus, Taiwan, Tunisia, Georgia (the country), Israel, Jordan, Sweden, and beyond. In Paris I’ve lost the comfort of college-town cloisters, but I’ve gained a sense of belonging that transcends country borders.

Applications for the Spring 2014 Study Abroad Scholarship are due April 1.