HILTON ORLANDO LAKE BUENA VISTA
in the Walt Disney World® Resort
1751 Hotel Plaza Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830
At the May 2015 meeting of the Executive Committee, the national leaders discussed ways to make each member's Phi Eta Sigma experience more meaningful and relevant. "Innovate Your Story!" will be the theme for the 2016 national convention to be held in sunny Orlando, Florida October 7-9, 2016. The convention program is being redesigned to give attendees a more cohesive experience, with each workshop and discussion being tied to the central theme.
Executive Committee members also approved an update of the convention housing procedures, allowing more flexibility and customization of housing arrangements for advisers and students who attend. More details on the new housing procedures are provided in this newsletter.
For 2016 Phi Eta Sigma is once again embracing the spirit of philanthropy to help those in need. Beginning with the 2010 national convention, Phi Eta Sigma has raised and contributed $12,000 to support worthwhile causes in the host cities of our conventions, including music education, special needs education, and an after-school program for social and behavioral skills development. With the next national convention scheduled for October 7-9, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, Phi Eta Sigma chapters have the opportunity to raise funds in support of a wonderful organization based in the Orlando area, Give Kids The World (GKTW).
Give Kids The World Village is a nonprofit resort that provides cost-free, weeklong vacations in Central Florida to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Since its founding almost 30 years ago, the 79-acre resort has served more than 140,000 children and families from all 50 states and 75 countries. To date, volunteers have contributed more than 3 million volunteer service hours.
Children with life-threatening illnesses between the ages of 3 and 18 whose wish is to visit Central Florida’s theme parks are identified by one of more than 250 wish-granting organizations to have their vacation dreams come true. With the help of many generous individuals and corporations, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Hasbro, Perkins, Boston Market and many more, Give Kids The World is able to serve more than 7,000 families each year.
Regardless of convention attendance, every Phi Eta Sigma chapter can be represented at the 2016 convention by being involved in this worthy philanthropy effort. We encourage all chapters to hold one or more events this year to raise awareness of childhood diseases and the challenges faced by families who deal with such crises and to raise funds for GKTW. You may also find a wish-granting program in your local community that refers children to Give Kids The World Village, so your fundraising could be a joint effort to benefit both the local program and GKTW. You will find information about how to help the organization, including fundraising ideas, at http://www.givekidstheworld.org/help/
When you hold your chapter fundraising events, be sure to document your efforts with photos, newsletters, local media coverage, etc. Submit a brief description of your efforts, along with photos and other documentation, to the national office by the fall deadline (to be announced later) in order to be entered in the competition for best philanthropy. The student Executive Committee members will review both the philanthropy project descriptions and the amounts raised, and we will select the chapter we feel has best exemplified the spirit of Phi Eta Sigma in this effort. The “best philanthropy” will be honored at the 2016 convention awards presentation, and all project entries will be recognized. A check for the total funds raised will also be presented to a representative of Give Kids The World during the convention.
Phi Eta Sigma has a proud tradition of excellence, leadership, and service. In addition to financial support, GKTW is always in need of volunteers. For the first time at a Phi Eta Sigma national convention, the attendees of the 2016 convention will participate in a special service activity to prepare materials for the children and their families who are guests at GKTW Village. But you don’t need to wait until next fall for your chapter to have an impact. Begin now by organizing events that will engage your chapter members in leadership development and service projects. We look forward to seeing you in Orlando this October, where each Phi Eta Sigma member will have the opportunity to “Innovate Your Story” through leadership and service.
During 2013-14, twelve chapters held fundraisers to benefit after school programs and support the national philanthropy. At the 2014 convention in Charleston, the student members of the Executive Committee presented a check for $5,000 to WINGS for Kids. The Texas A&M University chapter raised $500 of that total through a Harry Potter themed fundraising event. That chapter’s effort received the award for “Best Philanthropy” at the convention awards luncheon.
University of Alabama, College of Charleston, East Carolina University, Florida State University, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, University of Maryland, College Park, Morgan State University, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, and University of Wisconsin - Whitewater also developed projects to raise funds for WINGS and to assist with local after school programs in their areas.