Spring 2016 Barnes & Noble Superhero Fundraiser

Fundraising is essential for productive chapter life, and with the Sigma Tau Delta 2017 International Convention just around the corner it is time to start raising travel funds for your chapter to attend. Asking strangers for money can be a daunting prospect, but with the right approach everyone can walk away feeling good about the experience. This spring the Wichita State University (WSU) chapter partnered with their local Barnes & Noble to host a successful superhero fundraiser.

Superhero Fundraiser


Welcome Booth

In spring 2016 the Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter at WSU hosted its most memorable fundraiser to date. The chapter teamed up with the helpful staff of the local Barnes & Noble to throw a superhero book fair event, melding community involvement and family fun. From 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. customers were encouraged to wear an “I’m with Sigma Tau” nametag, and 10% of any purchase badge-wearing customers made that day was donated to the chapter fund. To capitalize on our superhero theme we also held a superhero reading for children, heroic emblem face painting, and a hero quest battle for superhero prizes. The superhero theme proved appealing to children of all ages, making for an inclusive and exciting event.

Superhero Selfi

Superhero Selfie

The Sigma Tau Delta booth was positioned at the entrance of the bookstore, an ideal location to greet and meet visitors. The name tags and the pencils and coupons from various local businesses proved to be our conversation starters and offered us an opportunity to educate people about the Society. Our selection of books displayed at the booth generated quite a few donations of these titles to our Wichita State Writing Center. To amp up the day’s superhero theme, the Barnes & Noble staff provided us with a “Superhero Selfie Station,” in which customers could don free superhero masks to take selfies in front of a cityscape background complete with stylized comic-book onomatopoeias.

Super Hero Fundraiser Booth

Superhero Fundraiser Booth

The theme of our superhero fundraiser spread throughout the store with strategically located hero quest stations where adventurers could answer superhero trivia to be entered in a drawing for superhero prizes. During the quest, participants could stop at the face painting station to pick from a selection of superhero emblems to be painted by one of our skilled volunteers who had practiced the previous day on our eager chapter members. The kids fell in love with their temporary “tattoos” and proudly displayed them to members at the entrance booth as they left the store.

In the afternoon, local author Mike Klassen hosted a book-signing booth next to ours. Klassen joined us in engaging a couple of curious young adults on how to become involved in English and creative writing careers. Aside from the superhero fun, holding these conversations with young readers serves as a reflection of what we subconsciously hoped to achieve with our disruption into customers’ Saturday morning: a declaration of our presence within the community and our desire to foster literacy and all aspects of the English discipline. Overall our fundraiser was a success, collecting enough funds to maintain our thriving organization for the upcoming semester, which was made possible by a joint effort from the book-loving (and superhero fan) community and our Sigma Tau Delta members.

Tell us about your chapter’s superhero fundraising efforts in the comments!

superhero-fundraiser-displayFundraising Resources


Superhero Fundraiser Victoria StewartVictoria Stewart
Chapter Treasurer
Alpha Theta Omicron Chapter
Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

Fostering Literacy: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

One key aspect of Sigma Tau Delta’s Mission Statement is serving society by fostering literacy. With over 880 active chapters in the Society, we have the potential to make an incredible impact upon international literacy efforts. Every academic year Sigma Tau Delta’s Student Leadership committee chooses a philanthropic project to spearhead across the Society. This year the Student Leaders are encouraging the entire English Honor Societies family—Sigma Tau Delta, The International English Honor Society; Sigma Kappa Delta, The English Honor Society for Two-Year Colleges; and National English Honor Society (NEHS) for High Schools—to participate in the Student Leadership International Project: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The project will help raise funds to provide books to enhance the literacy of children in low-income communities.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton Imagination LibraryThe Imagination Library fosters a love of reading among preschool children and their families by providing one specially-selected book each month from birth to the child’s fifth birthday. According to David Dotson, the president of The Dollywood Foundation, “Dolly started the Imagination Library as a gift to the children in her home county [in East Tennessee]. We never dreamed this effort would now span several countries and will soon attain an incredible milestone—gifting books to 1 million children per month.” The Imagination Library’s 2015 Annual Report highlighted some of the program’s achievements during its 20th anniversary year:

  • 2 million books donated in 2015
  • 9 million books donated since 1995
  • A new book is gifted every 3 seconds
  • Over 915,000 children received a book in December

Imagination Library Fostering LiteracyThe program has expanded far beyond America and now operates in Canada, the U.K., and Australia, with additional efforts in Belize to discover the program’s potential effectiveness in emerging countries.

Fostering Literacy at the Chapter Level

This year Sigma Tau Delta has the opportunity to help the Imagination Library reach its goal. Join us as we aim to gift books to over 1 million children in need. Student Leadership challenges all chapters to sponsor ten children. That is only $250 to provide ten children with a year’s worth of books! Proceeds will be split among South Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky—three states greatly in need of our help—along with the company that produces books in Braille. Chapters may bring their fundraising money to the Sigma Tau Delta 2017 International Convention in Louisville, KY, or mail it to the Central Office by June 1. All money raised will be presented to the Imagination Library in a single check. Please do not send money directly to the Imagination Library.

Dolly Parton Fostering LiteracyResources

How is your chapter planning to raise funds for the Imagination Library this year?

Timothy LeonardTimothy Leonard
Student Advisor, 2015-2017
Omega Zeta Chapter
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA



Samantha MillerSamantha Miller
Student Advisor, 2016-2018
Alpha Epsilon Alpha Chapter
The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ

Banned Books: Symbols of Positive Ideological Shifts

As literature lovers, it is our instinctual response to regard Banned Books Week with a modicum of solemn reflection; a week when we think about the thousands of people unable to enrich their literary lives with profound works like Animal Farm, Lolita, and Harry Potter (my personal favorite). The loss of awareness is something all literary scholars dread and actively work to stave off. Emotionally, the idea of “banned books” hits upon a specific nerve found especially in those who deeply love the written word.

Read Banned Books While I recognize the need for pensive contemplation, I propose that English students, academics, and aficionados adopt a new emotional regard for the week. Instead of thinking about the losses and setbacks caused by banned or burned books, we should observe the celebration of shifts in human ideology and history. Many books are banned because they conflict with historically sensitive events. When we’re still learning how to deal with these ideological conflicts, the literature supporting controversial beliefs is often the first thing to be villainized.

Banned Books PersepolisFor example, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, is a memoir detailing the author’s experiences growing up during the Iranian Revolution. The critically acclaimed text has received accolades for its honest and visceral depiction of such a politically charged and controversial historical moment. However, Persepolis is one of the most contested books of the past decade. Many reasons for banning the text stemmed from anti-Islam relations following a post 9/11 ideological shift. The lifted ban on Persepolis signaled the merit of Satrapi’s text and was indicative of the tensions between America and Iran at the time. In this case, and many others like it, literature and book-banning history reflected the tumultuous issues occurring in contemporary society.

Instead of looking at Banned Books Week as a solemn affair, let’s regard it as a symbolic indicator of human progress and achievement. If that doesn’t seem sufficient enough reason to celebrate, Banned Books Week exemplifies the dynamic power of literature as a touchstone for humanity.

Banned Books Persepolis comicSo celebrate by reading a recently challenged book, or just read Harry Potter again as I am doing.

Banned Books Week Social Media Contest

In celebration of Banned Books Week Sigma Tau Delta and National English Honor Society are teaming up to host a contest across our combined social media accounts. We want to hear about your favorite banned book! To participate you must tag us in a post about your favorite banned book on any of the following social media accounts:

In need of some inspiration for your post? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Share a photo of your favorite banned book on Instagram
  • Share your favorite quote from a banned book on Twitter
  • Share your rationale against banning books, or banning a particular book, on Facebook
  • Send us a Snap talking about your favorite Banned Book

The contest will run from Sunday, September 25-Saturday, October 1. Everyone who participates during this time frame will be entered in a drawing to win one of three $25 Amazon gift cards. A $45 Amazon gift card also will be awarded to the best overall post. You may post to multiple accounts to improve your odds of winning, but please tell us about a different book in each post!

Banned Books Haley HelgesenHaley Helgesen
Student Representative, Midwestern Region, 2016-2017
Phi Delta Chapter
Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL