Chapter News for Fall 2011
- This semester the Wilkes University chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, Sigma Pi, has been involved in several charitable events and coordination of lectures. Members of Sigma Pi have helped with flood clean up throughout the Wilkes-Barre area following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, which devastated many homes throughout the region. The chapter has also been involved in a coat drive called “Coats for Kids,” which involved gathering winter coats and donating them to a local head start. Members have also been involved in a food drive, collecting canned food to be donated to a local food pantry here in Luzerne County. The chapter was involved in CEO Day, where members packed boxes of food that are delivered to elderly persons throughout the area for the Thanksgiving holiday. The chapter has also helped coordinate and assist with two lectures. The first was for Constitution Day and Superior Court Chief Judge Correale Stevens spoke to students about the Constitution and laws surrounding police matters, such as search and seizures. This was a well-attended and informative event. The second lecture which members helped coordinate was by Professor John Gedid of Widener University Law School, where he spoke about the Pennsylvania Constitution and how it has evolved since its conception. The chapter plans to continue its work in the community throughout the rest of this semester and through next semester.
- Pi Sigma Alpha’s Tau Rho Chapter at Florida International University has entered the 2011/2012 school-year with the goal of three events planned for the upcoming spring semester. Our members are responsible for the creative direction, planning, and execution of the proposed events. The first event is a debate centered on the issue of “taxation in America”. The official prompt is, “college students generally belong to a tax bracket the demands a greater percentage of their income than the wealthiest Americans; should anything be done to rectify this? If so, what remedies are appropriate? If not, why”? Our expectation is to generate diversity in the quality of our debate panel by challenging other on-campus organizations to opine. We are also recruiting professors in the fields of Economics, Political Science, and Law to perform the function of judges. Following the Debate, we will seek to host a university-wide “Election”. The goal will be to produce a research based survey of a minimum 1% of all F.I.U. students to provide qualified assessments on their level of satisfaction with F.I.U., as well the choice our students will be making in the upcoming Presidential election. This event will be taking place over two separate days, on four polling locations. The projected cost of the "Election" has been proposed by this chapter as a grant-funded effort made possible through the National P.S.A. office. Our third event is the “Trial”, the goal for this event is to organize the workings of an accurate “mock trial”. The issue in focus for the "trial" will be arguing the legitimacy of access to federal funds "illegal” immigrants retain through the public education system. Our aim is to foster precise court procedures, develop proper research methods, create sophisticated arguments for-and-against the issue, as well as recruit a panel jury and judge, consistent of members of the F.I.U. faculty, to provide a verdict based on the reasoning prepared by both arguments made. A fourth effort of Tau Rho will be Propaganda; whose purpose it will be to serve as facilitators for the 3 aforementioned events and generate ideas, strategy, and non-traditional methods for the promotion and growth of Pi Sigma Alpha across campus.
- The University of South Florida’s Zeta Pi Chapter had a fall jam-packed with activities. We are fortunate that our chapter is regularly invited to help out at such events and are grateful for the National Chapter Grants that have made it possible. We volunteered at two nationally-televised GOP debates (CNN/Tea Party Express in Tampa; Fox News Channel/Google in Orlando). Our members assisted in the pre-debate “walk thrus” and practice sessions. We held signs identifying candidate locations in the post-debate spin rooms. We transported candidates and other dignitaries around the debate sites in golf carts. At the Orlando event, we even had a peek into the fabulous Google media center that had national reporters’ tongues wagging about the digs, the candy, and the smoothies! Several of our members were interviewed for local news stories following the Tampa debate.
- The Disney Contemporary Hotel was the site of the Florida Democratic Party’s statewide convention drawing several thousand delegates. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, former U.S. Senator and Governor Bob Graham, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, were there rallying Democrats to work hard to keep Florida blue by re-electing both President Obama and Senator Nelson. We worked long hours helping register delegates, informing delegates where to go to attend various sessions ranging from candidate training to voter outreach and mobilization. We saw candidates scrambling to get delegate signatures on petitions enabling them to avoid paying expensive filing fees to run, something many of us had been unaware was possible.
- Orlando’s Rosen Hotel and Convention Center were the locations of the Republican Party of Florida’s state convention, Presidency V, featuring a delegate straw poll. Nearly 3,000 Florida Republicans saw 10 presidential candidates slug it out at the Fox/Google debate Thursday evening, then give individual speeches the following day at the Florida C-PAC convention. Some candidates made one last appeal prior to the actual casting of ballots at the straw poll held Saturday afternoon. Zeta Pi members witnessed firsthand just how fast winning the Florida GOP straw poll launched Herman Cain to the top of the candidate heap, reinforcing the fact that politics in Florida makes national news and influences national party politics.
Members were asked to reflect on what they learned and enjoyed most. Here are some of their thoughts:
Democratic State Convention.
Philip Montesi. What I enjoyed most about the convention was interacting with the delegates, more specifically the delegates who have been Democratic Party activists for numerous years. They had incredible stories of how the Party has evolved over the years, and it was truly a pleasure to listen to them. I also learned that an effective use of volunteers is paramount to a successful convention.
Tifini Hill. “Having access to important political figures was one of the most exciting parts of our trip. Some of us were able to talk with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, former United States Representative Alan Grayson, former Governor and United States Senator Bob Graham, as well as many state legislators. These conversations serve as inspiration for those members who would eventually like to be public servants. This also provided us an opportunity to see that our representatives are regular people who are accessible and taught us how to interact with our elected officials in a respectful and serious way.”
Jon Ball. Being a member of USF Pi Sigma Alpha chapter I was given the great opportunity to volunteer at the Florida Democratic State Convention in Orlando. This experience has provided me with a better understanding of state conventions and a greater knowledge of state party organization. I was able to get an inside look of what it takes to organize a successful state convention. I learned quickly that the purpose of these state conventions is to energize party members while rallying support for their respective candidates. This convention was absolutely essential in mobilizing delegates and exciting party members for the upcoming 2012 election. I also learned that these conventions rely heavily on the use of eager volunteers for a successful convention. As a volunteer, I was utilized in just about every aspect of the convention. As a result, I gained invaluable experience while networking with key party members and prominent politicians.
Republican State Convention.
Gabrielle Ryan. “My eyes were opened to the importance of citizens’ early involvement in the 2012 presidential race. The election is more than a year away, yet the way that people who were attending were engaged, you would have thought the election was only a month away. As Pi Sigma Alpha members, we were able to work directly with the Republican Party of Florida and the American Conservative Union, while meeting politicians, presidential candidates, and interacting with guests and political organizations. Some of us had the opportunity to work alongside media and others had the opportunity to work backstage while the presidential candidates spoke. We even met the candidates. It was an amazing experience.”
Catlin Layton. “My favorite part was listening, in person, to the presidential candidates give speeches. I had not heard most of them speak outside of the debates I had watched on television and I gained a much better sense of their stance on issues. Seeing the work that went into these two events (C-PAC Florida and Presidency V), was a great example of job opportunities in the political science field. Every type of professional was there, from campaign workers, to the media, to elected officials and their aides.”
The following are photos from our events: