Many of the Pi Kappa Phi participants pose during the 2014 Purdue University Dance Marathon.
Fraternity members impact PUDM
Being involved in high profile positions is an expectation of being a Pi Kappa Phi at Purdue. And a foursome of fraternity members were at the forefront of the 2014 edition of the Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM).
Kyle Marpe, Pat Rivelli, Tripper Carter and Josh Nahley are four key fraternity members who have participated in the 18-hour dance-a-thon raising money and awareness for Indianapolis-based Riley Hospital for Children. Dance marathons are held at various campuses as part of the Miracle Children’s Network. Established in 1983, the network provides support for 170 research and treatment hospitals nationwide.
PUDM began in 2005 and started with 100 dancers and has grown to more than 2,000. What started as $1,500 in fund-raising has achieved more than $1 million in each of the last two years.
The Nov. 22-23 event was the third year for the four brothers. They were among 24 Pi Kappa Phi men involved in the extravaganza.
For Marpe, the fraternity’s emphasis on service is what brought him to PUDM. It was PUDM’s reach that kept him coming back in each of the last three years.
“Not only is it incredible to have brothers participating in something that you are so passionate about, but the whole reason I started participating in PUDM was because Pi Kapps encouraged me,” he said.
In 2012, Marpe, a civil engineering major from New Jersey, was a dancer and morale committee member. Then he served on the executive committee for student organization outreach. This year, he was vice president of external relations.
As an executive with PUDM, he got to know the kids who benefitted directly from the fund-raising.
“Looking back on this past marathon, I knew almost each Riley Kids name and story and it truly felt like we were friends,” he said. “And when that begins to happen, you begin raising money to help other kids like your new friends because you don't think any other child should have to go through what they went through.”
Many of the Riley children are brought on stage and their emotional stories told to the assembled dancers.
Like Marpe, this is the third time around for Rivelli. He moved from being a dancer-participant to member of the mini marathons committee to this year being on the operations committee.
He, too, has been impacted on the kids who benefit from PUDM’s efforts.
“The obstacles that they face are difficult and I am deeply motivated by their stories and courage to fight,” he said. “I want to make a difference and give hope and support to those that need it the most.”
Rivelli, a health and human sciences major from Indianapolis, sees PUDM’s mission in a similar fashion to Pi Kappa Phi’s The Ability Experience.
“The roots of our national philanthropy supporting people with disabilities allows me to further understand why ‘I stand for those who can't.’ ”
Likewise, Carter, a hospitality and tourism management major from Illiois, is on his third stint with PUDM having served on the morale committee each time.
As such a committee member, he participated in costume themes that changed during the 18-hour dance to choreographed dance routines. He also was somewhat of a cheerleader and helped keep energy and spirits high.
He does such for the kids.
“Children who, in almost all cases, are way too young to even understand the severity of their medical problems are able to show bravery and find joy in a capacity that I have yet to find anywhere else,” he said. “Those kids are my heroes.”
Also inspiring Carter is the large contingent of fraternity brothers at the event.
“It is so incredible that we were able to have so many brothers participating in this year's dance marathon,” he said. “We had 25 registered dancers, six members serving on committees, and one member serving as a vice president. From those brothers alone, we were able to raise $12,584.17 – having three Pi Kapps who raised more than $1,000 each.”
The fraternity has a special connection with PUDM, too. David R. Feltner, a fraternity brother who died of a childhood cancer in 2011, was a Riley patient himself. In each of the last four years, the initials DRF are on participants’ t-shirts and the banner behind the main stage contains his name.
“To see active Pi Kapp members support the legacy of a Pi Kapp who passed away is also incredible,” Marpe said. “David Feltner was a huge part of the chapter and to see members that never had the pleasure of meeting Feltner, still carry on his legacy, that is what brotherhood is all about.”
Photos from Pi Kapps at the 2014 PUDM can be found at:
Costumed fraternity members assist an Arc of Tippecanoe client during the Fourth Annual Arctoberfest hosted by Pi Kappa Phi.
Fraternity hosts Arctoberfest IV
Cool temperatures did nothing to dampen the spirits of nearly 200 people as they got an early start on celebrating Halloween courtesy of Pi Kappa Phi.
On Oct. 29, 2014, the fraternity hosted its Fourth Annual Arctoberfest, a costume-themed Halloween party for local disabled. The event is held in conjunction with the Arc of Tippecanoe, a local agency assisting disabled adults, and Best Buddies of Purdue.
Carnival games and dancing were the theme of the two and one-half hour event, held in the parking lot of Purdue’s Bailey Hall just north of the fraternity. Partygoers also had the opportunity to have their faces painted.
While temperatures dipped into the upper 40s, the calm, clear night saw the parking lot rock with DJ music.
“I thought the event went great,” said Jarrod Wagner, Pi Kappa Phi’s Ability Experience chairman. “Talking to the guests and brothers during the event, everyone seemed to be having a blast.
“It was rewarding to hear from the many guests how they very much look forward to this event every year.”
Four awards were given out near the conclusion complete with plastic pumpkins filled with treats. Those awards included:
• Best Overall Costume: Shane for his rendition of Purdue Pete.
• Scariest Costume: Jason with his scary wolf mask.
• Best Dance Moves/Most Enthusiastic: Brittany in the angel costume.
• Most Detailed Costume: Andrew who dressed as Indiana Jones.
There were plenty of snacks for the crowd that included Arc clients, family members, board members, chaperones as well as the hosting fraternity guys.
The fraternity does many things to support disabled youth and young adults in the area. Consistent with the national fraternity’s philanthropy, The Ability Experience, the chapter assists in local special needs classroom each school day and does other outreach programs including the annual Arctoberfest.
Pi Kappa Phi would like to thank our neighbors at Bailey Hall for allowing us to use the parking lot and first floor of the building to warm up and use the restrooms.
Photos from the event can be viewed at:
Record-setting biking event ends
A record number of participants helped fuel the most successful David R. Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike-A-Thon, which ended in a sun-soaked evening on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.
More than 200 participants rode stationary bikes for 164 hours at the fraternity during kickoff events during the three-day event. The fourth annual ride raised money and awareness the disabled through The Ability Experience, Pi Kappa Phi’s national outreach program.
The ride, held in memory of chapter undergraduate Feltner who died of cancer in 2011, raised $2,600.
Riders were asked to raise at least $10 per hour ridden. T-shirt sales, on-site cash donations and sorority competition made up the remaining money.
Zeta Tau Alpha was the winning sorority having pedaled the most distance in 15 minutes during the kickoff events at the seven sororities on Wednesday. Sigma Kappa was a close second. Other participants included Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Xi Delta.
Steve and Candy Feltner rode the final five minutes of the 72-hour event – something they did to honor their son’s memory and to support the chapter’s efforts in each of the last four years.
This year’s rendition had the best weather for the event as previously it has been cold and wet. Once riders were pelted with snow and freezing rain.
A crowd of nearly 70 celebrated the end of the event by watching a slideshow of all the previous bike-a-thons. Interspersed between the years were significant events in David Feltner’s fraternity experience, which included being part of the initial group that established a volunteer relationship with special needs classes at a local high school in 2008.
The audience also got see a slideshow of the 2014 ride selected from nearly 750 photos taken.
Photos from the last 24 hours of the event can be viewed at:
Photos from the previous days can be seen at:
Those who want more information as to how to support the cause, can contact Jarrod Wagner, The Ability Experience chairman, at:
Mike McBride and James Wooldridge cycle during the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner 72-Hour Bike-A-Thon on Sept. 26 afternoon (above). President Andrew Lemna encourages Brandon Cutler, Purdue assistant dean of students, during his ride that helped conclude the second 24 hours of the three-day event.
Pi Kapps enter cycling event’s final 24 hours
Pi Kappa Phi members and guests entered the final 24 hours of the bike-a-thon with enthusiasm amid near-perfect weather conditions on Friday, Sept. 26 evening.
The fraternity is nearing the completion of the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner 72-Hour Bike-A-Thon, which began Wednesday at 6 p.m. The three-day ride raises money for The Ability Experience, the national outreach project benefitting disabled locally and nationally.
The ride is named for Feltner, who died in 2011 from a childhood cancer. He was an instrumental member for the chapter as he volunteered to support the disabled. Feltner was part of the inaugural group of Pi Kapps who volunteered at Lafayette Jefferson High School special needs classes. He also hoped to ride in the 2012 Journey of Hope, a cross-country national fraternity cycling effort. Unfortunately, he died prior to that opportunity.
Every year since his death, the chapter has conducted a bike-a-thon in his memory. His parents will ride the last five minutes of the event at 5:55 p.m. Saturday. They have done such in each the event’s prior years.
Temperatures hovered in the upper 70s amid bright sunshine during Friday’s efforts. For most of the day three stationary bikes were in full motion and during the late night hours two bikes were active.
Brandon Cutler, Purdue’s assistant dean of students for fraternity, sorority and cooperative life, rode one of three bicycles as the first 48 hours of the ride ended on Friday evening. It was his first time participating in the ride. He also contributed $20 toward the cause.
By 6 p.m. Saturday, the fraternity anticipates raising more than $2,000 for The Ability Experience. The Purdue group was named the top Ability Experience chapter in the nation for 2013-14, for its overall programming and fund-raising.
Last year, the chapter raised more than $16,000 with a quarter of that money going to assist the local high school special needs classes. In addition to volunteering each school day, the fraternity also hosts multiple events year-round. In 2013-14 for example, the chapter touched nearly 2,500 people with its programming.
For photos from Friday’s events:
Thursday’s photos can be seen at:
Wednesday’s kickoff and ride can be seen at:
Those who want more information as to how to support the cause, can contact Jarrod Wagner, The Ability Experience chairman, at:
Riders wave to a supportive passerby on Thursday, Sept. 25 during the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner Bike-A-Thon on the Pi Kappa Phi front lawn.
Day 2 kicks off for Bike-A-Thon
More than 50 cyclists rode one of three stationary bikes in the first day of the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike-A-Thon.
The annual three-day affair that ends on Homecoming Saturday is in memory of a Pi Kappa Phi chapter member who died in 2011 from cancer. The Ability Experience, the national philanthropic effort of fraternity serving disabled locally and nationally, benefits from the fund-raising.
Amid nearly picture perfect weather during the day on Thursday, Sept. 25, riders and supporters alike roamed the front lawn in a very festive atmosphere. High temperatures reached the upper 70s and it was sunny throughout the day.
“It was a great atmosphere all day long,” The Ability Experience chairman Jarrod Wagner said, “and I’m sure it will carry through the rest of the event.”
A total of 51 riders participated in the first 24-hour period that ended at 5:59 p.m. Thursday. More than 30 sorority members participated in the kickoff events around campus, too.
“Friday’s cyclists are already exited for their time on one of our three bikes,” Wagner said.
Nearly 200 cyclists are expected to participate, including the parents of the late David Feltner, Candy and Steve from Noblesville, IN. The parents will ride the last five minutes of the 72 hours as they have in the previous three events.
The chapter has a goal of raising $2,000 by 6 p.m. on Saturday, which is immediately after the noon Iowa at Purdue Homecoming football game.
Photos from Day 2 can be found at:
Photos from Day 1 can be found at:
Pi Kappa Phi and seven sororities kicked off the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner 72-Hour Bike-A-Thon on Sept. 22, 2014. On top a fraternity member models the shirts on behalf of the event. In the middle photo Zetas celebrate their performance. On the bottom, chapter members hold the bike during a rider changeover at Delta Delta Delta.
Bike-a-Thon starts 4th year
Seven sororities – with up to as many as five riders – helped kickstart the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner 72-Hour Bike A Thon for Pi Kappa Phi on Sept. 22, 2014.
Over the course of the next three days more than 200 riders will don one of three stationary bike at the fraternity house, 330 N. Grant St., to benefit The Ability Experience (formerly known as Push America). Riders commit to raise at least $10 each for their 60-minute ride.
Riders will include members of the special needs classes at Lafayette Jefferson High School, their parents and/or teachers. The fraternity volunteers each day in the classes throughout the fall and spring semesters.
Purdue and city officials are also expected to ride the bike to benefit The Ability Experience that assists the disabled locally and nationally.
The sororities kickoff event was a 15-minute stationary bike ride by as many sisters as they choose. The total mileage covered in that quarter hour will determine the winner, which will be announced at the closing event at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27. Participants includes Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Gamma Phi Beta, Sigma Kappa, Zeta Tau Alpha and Alpha Xi Delta.
Fraternity members brought a bicycle with a stand and a computer sensor to measure speed and distance. Each sorority brought out sisters to cheer on their cyclists.
The Bike a Thon is named in memory of Pi Kappa Phi brother Feltner, who died in June 2011 due to cancer. Earlier that year, after Feltner lost an eye to cancer, the fraternity did a fund-raiser to help him with a special needs dog since he had lost the sense of balance and smell due to surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. The chapter raised more than $10,000 to buy the dog, but unfortunately he died before being fully trained with it.
Feltner was one of the original chapter members who worked in the Lafayette Special needs classes in 2008. He was also a major contributor to chapter-based fund-raising and raising awareness for the disabled.
For more information about how to support the cause, contact The Ability Experience chairman, Jarrod Wagner (email@example.com, 708/917-0066).
Updates each day during the 72-hours can be read at: purduepikapps.com.
Photos from the Sept. 22 kickoff and bicycling can be found at:
Chapter members view signs promoting Homecoming Week activities at Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. They are wearing shirts promoting brother Tripper Carter for homecoming king and overlook the sign promoting the Fourth Annual David Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike-a-Thon that starts at 6 p.m., Wednesday and runs through Saturday evening.
Homecoming set for Sept. 27
Purdue and Pi Kappa Phi will be welcoming alumni to the chapter on Saturday, Sept. 27 as the Boilermakers (2-2) host Iowa (3-1).
The deadline has passed for alumni wishing to sit in the Pi Kappa Phi group at the game, but plenty of tickets will be available the day of the game.
The fraternity’s Saturday, Sept. 27 homecoming schedule includes:
• 9 a.m. to noon, open house, 330 N. Grant St. See the summer improvements, which includes replacement of the main boiler system.
• 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., alumni pregame luncheon in the house basement.
• Noon, Purdue vs. Northern Illinois football game in Ross-Ade Stadium.
• 4 to 6 p.m., alumni open house at the chapter.
• 6 p.m., completion of the Fourth Annual David R. Feltner Memorial Bike-a-Thon benefitting The Ability Experience (formerly known as Push America). Chapter members, alumni and sorority members will ride three stationary bikes from 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24 to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, to raise money for the cause. Candy and Steve Feltner, parents of David, will once again don the bikes for the last five minutes of the 72-hour event.
Pi Kappa Phi Paintball Brotherhood Event
Pi Kappa Phi ranks among best
During the 2013-14 academic year, Pi Kappa Phi stood among the best fraternities at Purdue. In fact, the chapter has been named Purdue’s best fraternity (out of 40) six of the last seven years.
Here’s where Pi Kappa Phi ranks at Purdue:
• No. 1 in size, 152 members at end of spring semester (average chapter size, 68.1 in spring)
• No. 1 in philanthropic volunteer hours, 2,007
• No. 2 in philanthropic dollars, $16,500
• No. 9 in average GPA, 2.98 semester, 3.03 cumulative
Pi Kappa Phi National Statistics, (out of 184 chapters nationally)
• 2014 Star of Hope Award, most outstanding and comprehensive use of Push America/The Ability Experience programming on their campus.
• No. 4 in chapter size (152)
• No. 3 in all-time initiates (1,949 Pi Kappa Phi initiates at Purdue)
• No. 3 in Push America/The Ability Experience fund-raising
Purdue Pi Kappa Phi members Joe Shane, Hayden Gloyeske, Thomas Fisher and Andrew Lemna stand on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. The fraternity members had just finished the 2014 Journey of Hope cross-country cycling ride raising money and awareness for the disabled.
Chapter showcases service
“Servant leadership” was the theme of the Aug. 28 new member recruitment event at Pi Kappa Phi.
The fraternity prides itself as the top philanthropic chapter at Purdue and, perhaps, in the nation. The Ability Experience, the fraternity’s national service project assisting the disabled, is just one of the ways that Pi Kappa Phi separates itself.
The chapter conducts two major fall and spring fund-raisers alongside its daily commitment to assisting special needs classes at Lafayette Jefferson High School. In the fall, it has the David Feltner 72-Hour Memorial Bike-a-Thon and Arctoberfest. The former has one to three riders on stationary bicycles pedaling for 72 continuous hours leading up to homecoming. Then, the fraternity partners with the Arc of Tippecanoe and Best Buddies – local disability support groups – to host more than 200 for a Halloween-themed costume party.
In the spring, the chapter conducts a two-week War of Roses, which raises awareness through a disability-oriented competition and an empathy dinner. Participating sororities also compete in sheet-sign design and t-shirt sales leading up to a talent show in front of more than 800 people.
During the Spring Fest activities on campus, the fraternity sponsors an 100-kilometer cycling trip from Zionsville to campus raising additional funds for The Ability Experience.
Chapter members may also participate in activities with brothers from other Pi Kappa Phi chapters during spring break at Ability Camps doing service and improvement projects.
Also each summer several chapter members participate in the national Journey of Hope cycling ride from the West Coast to Washington, DC. In 2014, the Purdue chapter of Pi Kappa Phi had four riders. In the two summers preceding last year, the chapter had five in each ride. In 2015, the chapter will have seven more bringing the grand total to 40 riders and three crew since 1980.
In 2013-14, the local Pi Kappa Phi chapter raised $16,870 for The Ability Experience and $190,494 since 1980. One-quarter of the annual fund-raising is targeted back to assisting the special needs classes at Lafayette Jeff.
And finally, the chapter participates in nearly all the Purdue Greek-sponsored philanthropies on campus.
Pi Kappa Phi has led the fraternity system at Purdue in philanthropic fund-raising in 12 out of the last 14 years. For its efforts, the chapter has been recognized the top Pi Kappa Phi chapter nationally (out of 184 chapters) in terms of overall programming.
New member recruitment will continue through early September. Functions will be held each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday through Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the fraternity house, 330 N. Grant St. One exception to that will be on Sept. 2, when the recruitment event will be held at the Intramural Fields.
For those interested in the new member process, feel free to contact Ryan Schmierer, recruitment chairman, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 765/ 490-6821.
Pi Kappa Phi members greet prospective new members at the first event of the fall on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014.
New member recruitment begins
The fall recruitment period kicked off in a hot and humid fashion on Sunday, Aug. 24 as dozens of prospective members visited Pi Kappa Phi.
The first event was a “meet and greet” that is informal in nature and allows chapter members to expose interested men in the fraternity. It was the first of nine new member recruitment events for the fraternity located at 330 N. Grant St., West Lafayette.
Recruitment events will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday for the first three weeks of Purdue’s fall semester. Prospective new member can choose among 40 campus fraternities. The process can be challenging particularly for men who have no clue the differences in chapters.
The Purdue fraternity system has specialized chapters – from agriculture and engineering and from those associated with religious groups. Pi Kappa Phi is a general interest fraternity founded on Judeo-Christian values, but not a specific religion or area of study.
Pi Kappa Phi was the largest chapter at Purdue at the conclusion of the spring semester with 152 brothers. It also raised the most money of any fraternity for philanthropic purposes.
The fraternity is hosting three events during the first week of school. The first two – on Sunday and Tuesday – are very informal. Thursday’s event will focus on what the chapter does to assist others through both on-campus philanthropic efforts to those for The Ability Experience/Push America.
Pi Kappa Phi is easily the most involved fraternity in the area of service. Each school day in the fall and spring, chapter members volunteer in special needs classes at Lafayette Jefferson High School. Furthermore, it holds large fall and spring events that involve alumni, fellow Greeks and families. Last school year, for example Pi Kappa Phi touched nearly 2,000 people with its The Ability Experience/Push America events.
Prospective members are encouraged to get to know as many of the chapter members as possible. After meeting multiple brothers, the chapter members may offer a “bid,” which is an invitation to become an associate member. Pi Kappa Phi is likely to have more than 200 men interested in one of 30 or so bids for the fall semester.
Those who want to learn more about the chapter and about the new member recruitment process, should contact Ryan Schmierer at email@example.com, or at 765/490-6821.
Photos from the first new member recruitment event can be found at:
Fraternity president Andrew Lemna greets a disabled client during his ride on the 2014 Journey of Hope South team.
Cycling trip impacts chapter foursome
Descriptions such as “incredible, challenging and rewarding” are terms used by fraternity members as they describe what it’s like to be on the 2014 Journey of Hope team.
Four Pi Kappa Phi members on three different routes are traveling from the West Coast to Washington, DC, during 2014 with a purpose. Thirty six members of the chapter have participated in the nearly 4,000-mile cycling trek since 1991. They raise money and awareness for the disabled across the country during a three-month period that ends on Aug. 2 in DC.
“The Journey of Hope has been the most difficult, yet most rewarding experience I have ever had,” said Joe Shane, a rider on the Trans America team. “Every day pushing through the miles and remembering who we are riding for really makes it worth while. This has been the best summer of my life.”
Chapter brother Hayden Gloyekse, of Lafayette, IN, accompanies Shane, of Jackson, NJ, on the Trans team. The two spent a rare night off in the Indianapolis during July. Nearly 20 of their Purdue chapter brothers joined them for a dinner on July 19 in Zionsville.
While crossing the country, team members visit groups of people who are disabled as well as those who serve them. The disabled clients are thrilled to see the riders at various camps and service organizations.
However, the impact on the riders and crew sometimes is even more significant than the support the riders give the disabled.
For Gloyeske, a July 10 visit to Olathe, KS was one such event. There he met a quadriplegic who showed the Trans team what it’s like to live each day with a disability.
“Listening to him talk about his life really open my eyes … and really pushed me more to keep going on this trip,” Gloyeske wrote in his daily blog about the trip. “I have never seen someone who had been dealt such poor cards have such a great attitude on life.”
One of the things that left a lasting impression on Gloyeske was a quote he found on the guy’s wall – “Always move into the future with courage, clarity, humor and hope.”
Two other chapter members – Andrew Lemna (south team) and Thomas Fisher (north) have had similar experiences along the way.
“The Journey of Hope has been a life-changing experience,” Lemna, of Noblesville, IN, said. “I've gotten to meet so many incredible people using their talents and hard work to make a difference in the world every day.”
Fisher, of West Lafayette, IN, said the trip changed his perspective, too.
“I would say I have been most affected by the Journey of Hope through being able to see all of the incredible abilities that people we usually label as disabled have,” he said. “I have learned that we all have disabilities, but that even more importantly everyone has been blessed with certain abilities that we can call our own.
“This trip has allowed me to celebrate these abilities with people whose abilities are usually underestimated by society.”
Photos from the July 19 Zionsville visit from the Trans America team as well as photos of chapter riders on the north and south teams can be found at:
A choreographer directs the six-member special needs SPIRIT! troupe as it performs at the April 9, 2014, talent show portion of Pi Kappa Phi's "War of Roses" in a packed Loeb Playhouse on the Purdue campus.
Thank you note touches fraternity
What might become lost in the chapter’s service successes in 2013-14, is the personal touch. A local choreographer’s recent thank you note to the national fraternity staff changed that.
On June 26, 2014, the founder and president of SPIRIT! Theatre of Lafayette sent an email to the Push America and the national fraternity’s CEOs expressing her gratitude. She lauded the local Pi Kappa Phi chapter’s support and specifically noted the efforts of chapter Push America chairman, Thomas Fisher.
SPIRIT! Theatre is in its second year of offering “meaningful opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Because the fraternity supports the needs of disabled through its multifaceted academic year programming, Fisher offered the troupe a stage.
During the spring semester, Pi Kappa Phi hosts a two-week “War of Roses.” The annual event includes empathy training, competition mimicking various disabilities and other activities leading up to a two-hour talent show. On April 9, the talent competition featured 15 sorority teams – coached by Pi Kappa Phi members – performing in front of nearly 600 people in Loeb Playhouse on the Purdue campus.
Between various event categories – such as humorous Q&A’s with one representative from a given sorority or the talent portion that featured individuals or teams doing routines – the fraternity explained the value of serving those with disabilities. During one of those breaks, the SPIRIT! Group performed excerpts of an upcoming production, “Dreams of Broadway.”
Six special needs performers did a song and dance routine on the stage to help prepare them for an upcoming event. The crowd gave the group a standing ovation.
In her six-paragraph thank you note to the national fraternity representatives, Barb Osborn praised the Fisher and the chapter.
“They were all a little nervous before the production because they would be performing in front of a large audience at the biggest venue yet,” Osborn wrote in the email. “I think that they amazed themselves and were all in awe of the rounds of applause coupled with standing ovation at the end of their portion of the entertainment. Their individual and collective self esteem grew, they now have a broader vision of what their lives can involve and are imagining other opportunities coming the way of the Company.
“Thomas Fisher was instrumental in providing the cast this opportunity,” Osborn continued. “Throughout coordinating arrangements, Thomas was professional, very timely and reliable with his communication and enthusiastic about including SPIRIT!
“I just thought that you should know what a great chapter, and in particular an incredible brother, you have in Thomas Fisher. Thanks for all you do to support and bring increased respect for the developmentally disabled.”
Chad Coltrane, Push America CEO, responded to Osborn’s email.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to send us the fantastic note about Thomas and the Pi Kappa Phi men at Purdue,” Coltrane wrote in an email response. “They are a great group of men and we are very proud of their efforts.”
Mark Timmes, national fraternity CEO, echoed the sentiment.
“Let me add my thanks,” Timmes wrote. “We are very proud of the chapter and how it positively impacts our members and enriches the lives of those around us, too.”
The Osborn-Coltrane-Timmes communication was shared with the chapter.
“We are humbled and appreciative of your thoughtful correspondence,” chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle wrote. “The local chapter does so many programming things to lift up the disabled that they are probably too numerous to list here. But, it’s no accident that the chapter that has raised more than $15,000 last school year for disabled nationally and locally, does community outreach, too.”
During the 2013-14 school year, the Purdue fraternity touched nearly 2,000 people on campus and in the community through its work with the disabled.
Many of the 20 May 2014 Pi Kappa Phi graduates pose on the fraternity's front lawn.
Chapter graduates 20 members
Twenty fraternity seniors took part of the May 2014 graduation ceremonies at Purdue University.
Graduates are moving into a wide variety of professional careers. Here’s a capsule of what the pictured Pi Kappa Phi graduates are doing:
• Colin Aker, of Seymour, IN will be starting in the rotational development program at Honeywell in Richmond, VA.
• Keagan Dunville, of Evansville, IN, will move to Dublin, Ireland to pursue a Master’s Degree in Neuroscience.
• Cory Hensley of West Lafayette, IN, will be staying in town while applying to graduate schools.
• Marshall Drew, of Catawba Island, OH, will be moving to Chicago, IL to work for Aramark.
• Brian Allemeier, of Westfield, IN, will be working as a field engineer for Schlumberger in Al-Khaber, Saudi Arabia.
• Caleb Shoup, of Bonduel, WI, will be a production supervisor at Dawn Food Products in Louisville, KY.
• Alex Faulkner, of Zionsville, IN, will be project engineer for Suncoke Energy in Chicago, IL.
• Kaleb Stephens, of Butler, IN, will be a supply chain analyst for PepsiCo in Chicago, IL.
• TJ Wilson, of Wheaton, IL, is pursuing jobs in Chicago, IL.
• Sam Newblom, of Westfield, IN, is pursing jobs in Indianapolis, IN.
• Michael Schmierer, of West Lafayette, IN, will be a legislative assistant for the Indiana House of Representatives in Indianapolis, IN.
• Brett Poncsak, of Hebron, IN, will move to Indianapolis, IN to be in the catapult rotational program for Exact Target.
President Kaleb Stephens presents a Pi Alpha recognition trophy to the chapter honoring the 38 members who have/or will have ridden in the national cross-county cycling trip. He if flanked by chapter members who are part of that elite group.
Chapter members who participated in the April 12, 2014 Pi Kapp 100 are surrounded by fraternity brothers and their families following the ride from Zionsville to Lafayette.
Moms Day/Pi Kapp 100 sets records
A fun-filled, bright, warm spring day kept fraternity family members busy during the record-breaking Moms Day/Pi Kapp 100 on April 12, 2014.
A crowd of nearly 280 people greeted the 24 Pi Kapp 100 riders and crew as they completed their Zionsville-to-Lafayette 100-kilometer bike ride that day. Riders were required to raise at least $150 and crew $75 toward the chapter’s annual fund-raising for Push America, the national philanthropic effort benefitting the disabled.
Then, the lunch crowd of 280, helped celebrate the accomplishments of the Purdue fraternity during 2013-14, with a series of speakers.
The audience heard from Brenden Hulett, chapter historian, about the day’s events. The activities included a mom’s day reception with appetizers, an auction that raised funds for either Push or an house improvement project, and a social gathering late into the evening. Fraternity and family members also learned about the various ways the fraternity reaches out to the disabled from Thomas Fisher, Push America chairman.
Push events during the 2013-14 school year included: the third annual 72-hour David R. Feltner Bike-a-Thon, seventh Annual War of Roses and 15th annual Pi Kapp 100 – all raising funds and awareness for Push. Furthermore, the chapter sends members each school day to the Lafayette Jefferson High School special needs classes and hosts the Arctoberfest, a Halloween costume party for clients of the Arc of Tippecanoe.
Academic chairman Rita Baker and chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle recognized the 75 chapter members who had a 3.0 or higher last semester. Also, the 35 men with a 3.5 or higher and the seven 4.0 GPAs were honored.
Fraternity alumni Kevin Ohaver and Andy Parker, founders of the Pi Kapp 100, a 100-kilometer cycling trip each spring established in 1999, reminisced about how the event got started. They lauded the chapter for making it grow over the years and were amazed by the immensity of the Pi Kapp 100/Moms Day Saturday that drew nearly 350 people.
The evening auction raised $9,775. Of that, donors targeted Push America with $3,140 of the total amount raised. Another of $3,000 was raised through the Pi Kapp 100 part, meaning the day brought in more than $6,000 for Push on Saturday.
That amount, combined with the proceeds of the War of Roses earlier in the week, which pitted 15 sororities competing in various activities including an empathy dinner, a disability race and a talent show, raised $5,112. Thus, the week of April 9 grossed an excess of $11,000 for the chapter’s national outreach program.
The luncheon portion of the day ended when president Kaleb Stephens surprised everyone by presenting a Pi Alpha trophy. The hardware recognized the 38 Purdue chapter members who had/will have ridden in the annual summer Journey of Hope, a summer Push America national fraternity cross-county cycling trip raising awareness and funds for the disabled.
Here’s a brief description of the events that help set Pi Kappa Phi apart from other fraternities.
• Feltner Bike-a-Thon. For 72 hours at least two stationary bikes are ridden to raise funds and awareness leading up to Homecoming each fall.
• Arctoberfest. The fraternity hosts clients of the Arc of Tippecanoe, a local agency assisting disabled, for a costume party/carnival near Thanksgiving.
• War of Roses. This two-week empathy training, outreach, talent extravaganza involves more than 1,000 people. In 2013, for example, 16 sororities competed to earn the War of Roses crown.
• Pi Kapp 100. The chapter hosts a 100-kilometer cycling trip from the Indianapolis area to the Purdue campus each spring. As many as 40 riders arrive on the steps of the fraternity house during the annual Moms Day each spring.
• Lafayette Jefferson High School Volunteer Relationship. Each school day during the fall and spring semesters, fraternity members assist in two special needs classes at a local high school.
Photos from the Jan. 23 new member recruitment event can be found at:
Chapter members work with students with a wide variety of disabilities from cognitive to physical.
Pi Kappa Phi completes its fall recruitment period the week of Sept.15. For more information about the process, contact Ryan Schmierer at:
or at 765-490-6821
Pi Kappa Phi has won six R.B. Stewart Awards in the past seven years, signifying it as Purdue’s best fraternity. It’s commitment to Push America (pushamerica.org) is one of those reasons.