The Emerald of Sigma Pi Fraternity http://theemerald.org A Quest for Excellence Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:05:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 83896150 Airbnb acquires ad tech startup AdBasis founded by Sigma Pi Brothers http://theemerald.org/2017/11/17/airbnb-acquires-ad-tech-startup-adbasis-founded-by-sigma-pi-brothers/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:05:07 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2626 EDITOR’S NOTE: The selection below originally ran in an article on Tech Crunch and was written by Ingrid Lunden. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

It looks like accessibility isn’t the only thing that Airbnb wants to upgrade on its platform. On the same day that Airbnb announced that it acquired Accomable, an “Airbnb for disabled travellers”, it has emerged that it’s also made another small acquisition. Airbnb has acquired adtech startup AdBasis, which had built a platform and dashboard for ad testing and optimization.

Airbnb has confirmed the acquisition but is not commenting on it further. AdBasis has published a note on its site indicating that the deal closed on November 13 and that its team will continue to work on digital creative testing and optimization technology at Airbnb.

“We’re thrilled to share with you that as of November 13th 2017, AdBasis has been acquired by Airbnb. As part of Airbnb, our team will continue to pave the way in digital creative testing & optimization technology,” the note says. “We look forward to continuing to change the way the world views ads.”

AdBasis was co-founded by Jason Puckett and Joe DiVita in Chicago, and it’s not clear how many people worked there, or how many will join Airbnb. The company’s leadership have relocated to San Francisco.

AdBasis describes itself as a “controlled testing environment and analytics tool for companies to conduct A/B and multivariate tests on search, display & mobile ads.”

Its tools include the ability to track revenue, and how changes to an ad’s content, bidding, targeting and other parameters impact its performance. It also creates statistics based on this data to help direct future campaigns. AdBasis also makes decisions about where to spend ad dollars based on the data gathered during the experimentation process.

 

To read more, click here.

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Sean Feliciano and the Amazing Day Foundation http://theemerald.org/2017/09/01/sean-feliciano-and-the-amazing-day-foundation/ Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:28:22 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2604 September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and our philanthropic partner, the Amazing Day Foundation, aims to enlist the help of volunteers and educational institutions to help students effectively deal with depression, encouraging them to choose life when it may seem like death is the only option.

As many of you may know, Sean Feliciano (UC Santa Barbara ’09) was a brother of Alpha-Omicron Chapter. He is remembered by his friends and family for his infectious smile and a friendly, easy-going demeanor that instantly charmed everyone he met.

Even though most of us have very little personal connection to Sean or his family, Sean still has a tremendous impact on our Chapter every day. His story reminds us that everybody is going through different struggles in their life, and truly shows the importance of having a group of brothers at your back to love and support you through all your hardships. Sean was an exemplary brother who cared deeply about those around him. We strive to emulate Sean’s commitment to his friends and hope that our compassion to those around us might have half the effect that Sean’s did to everyone who met him.

His passing really puts things into perspective and reminds us to cherish each and every day that we have with our brothers, and not to take anything for granted. While he may not be here with us today, his spirit lives on through his friends and family and our Chapter honors his memory every year with our work for the Amazing Day Foundation.

Sean left a bigger impact on our Chapter than any of us ever could, and we hope that through our actions and deeds we may honor his legacy for years to come. Sean knew what it meant to be a brother of Sigma Pi, and his memory is something dear to our Chapter that will not soon be forgotten.

To conclude, thank you all for taking the time to read this and I hope it serves to communicate even a fraction of what Sean means to Alpha-Omicron. Cherish the time you have with your brothers and in the words of Sean, “Have an amazing day.”

IST,

The Brothers of Alpha-Omicron Chapter at UC Santa Barbara

http://amazingdayfoundation.org

 

Crisis Hotlines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK(1-800-273-8255)

Teen Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE(1-800-784-2433)

Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-799-4889 http://www.veteranscrisisline.net

Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

The Steve Fund (Persons of Color) Text STEVE to 741741

The Trevor Lifeline (LGBTQ) now at 866-488-7386

Trans* Lifeline – 877-565-8860

Deaf and Hard of Hearing TTY: 1-800-799-4889 (same as Veteran’s Crisis Line)

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio:  1-888-628-9454

Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline: 1.866 Naseeha

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Mountain City Alumni Club: The Rest of the Story http://theemerald.org/2017/06/30/mountain-city-alumni-club-the-rest-of-the-story/ Fri, 30 Jun 2017 14:54:05 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2600 This story was printed in the Summer 2017 issue of The Emerald magazine.  If you do not receive printed issues of the magazine, but would like to, then please opt-in at sigmapi.org/updateinfo.

The Fall 2016 issue of The Emerald featured a timely article titled Re-engaging with the Fraternity: Alumni Clubs. The article presented ideas to initiate alumni clubs and contained a picture of Delta-Alpha Chapter in front of Central Michigan University’s Warner Hall with the picture titled Mountain City Alumni Club. As an appropriate follow-up to that article, here is the rest of the story of the Mountain City Alumni Club (MCAC).

As the article points out there are both regional and chapter alumni clubs. The MCAC is a chapter-based club for Delta-Alpha at Central Michigan University (CMU). The MCAC was originally chartered in 1982. As is the story with perhaps many fraternity alumni clubs, over the years there has been great involvement, but then in the late 1990s and early 2000s involvement decreased to nearly no activity. Life after college, marriage, raising a family, and career demands can all influence alumni involvement. In the case of the MCAC there were two primary events that shook the fraternity and our over 700 Delta-Alpha alumni to action. The first was the revocation of Delta-Alpha Chapter’s charter in August 2008 due to several infractions and, as is usually the case, a lack of active leadership and alumni involvement. Interestingly enough the Delta-Alpha chapter house is owned by the alumni. However, there were many financial issues that arose with the alumni running the chapter house, including back taxes owed and the risk of losing the chapter house.

The Chapter’s charter was revoked by the Executive Office and no brothers were allowed to occupy the chapter house with thousands of dollars in back taxes owed. Delta-Alpha alumni were presented with a difficult and desperate circumstance, but, thanks to the alumni who rose to the occasion, the proper steps were taken to get the chapter back to its former glory. Emergency meetings were conducted with the first step to place new alumni leadership in charge of the housing board – the Delta-Alpha Association (DAA). The DAA under new leadership communicated with all alumni to raise funds to pay the back taxes. After several months, $16,310.00 was raised to pay the back taxes. The house at 1016 South Main was no longer a fraternity house but it would be rented to CMU students and managed by the DAA. Once the house circumstance stabilized, attention turned to re-chartering the MCAC with new leadership. Elections were held and the MCAC board was formed. The board met with CMU administration to update them on the status of the then-inactive Delta-Alpha Chapter. With the house back taxes paid and new alumni leadership put in place, the MCAC discussed the possibility of having Sigma Pi return to the CMU campus. The proactive response in August 2008 from Sigma Pi and the relationship built with CMU administration left the door open to return to campus.

The MCAC re-chartered with the Executive Office on February 16, 2012. The 132 charter members were made up of the alumni that had contributed to pay-off the back taxes on the house. The re-chartering process helped drive the MCAC to put proper leadership in place, with a functioning board and bylaws to conduct business. With the MCAC alumni club now intact and functioning, membership growth and returning to campus became its primary goals.

May of 2012 proved to be a pivotal point for Delta-Alpha Chapter. A meeting was conducted with CMU administration and the Executive Office to discuss how the MCAC would support the international organization by providing leadership to the new chapter and ensuring its success. CMU and the Executive Office agreed to bring the chapter back to CMU’s campus. The Executive Office went to work on-campus to colonize the inactive Delta-Alpha Chapter. On February 17, 2013, 31 undergraduates reformed the Delta-Alpha Colony.

Delta-Alpha Colony was well on its way to re-chartering. Yet another challenge arose for the Colony – what to do with the century-old house in need of major renovations and foundational repairs? Once again the MCAC provided the forum to discuss, debate, and decide what to do with the house. After a lengthy meeting and investigation of options, it was decided to demolish and rebuild the chapter house. While much of the cost could be covered, alumni contributions were necessary. The MCAC marshaled its resources and a fundraising chairman was identified. The MCAC raised $51,551 with 164 alumni contributing to the new chapter house. The Delta-Alpha Chapter now occupies the new house at 1016 South Main in Mt. Pleasant.

The story of Delta-Alpha Chapter demonstrates the difference that a lack of alumni involvement can make and the positives that can happen with strong alumni involvement and leadership. In our view, the alumni club must support the active chapter and maintain a relationship with the university, where possible. The MCAC and the role of an alumni club must extend to all alumni. The MCAC has established four social events, the thought being to establish four events and build a tradition around those events. This gives alumni brothers and their families the opportunity to get together, catch-up, network, and reminisce. The four events MCAC conducts are:

  • A holiday party between Christmas and New Year’s Eve
  • A Detroit Tigers baseball game
  • A summer golf scramble
  • CMU Homecoming

All four events are organized and operated by an alumnus. Homecoming has taken on particular significance in that the alumni club works directly with the active chapter to plan and fund homecoming. The MCAC also awards two $500 scholarships to deserving undergraduates at Homecoming. The award of each scholarship has generated competitive interest and excitement at Homecoming.

While the MCAC and Delta-Alpha alumni have many great accomplishments there are still challenges. Year-to-year fluctuations in membership and succession planning for key positions are primary challenges that the MCAC continues to face. Ideas such as regional alumni get-togethers and rush for MCAC have all been tried and continue to help maintain membership. While supporting the active chapter and CMU is vitally important and never ending, each time the MCAC conducts one of our social events new connections are made with brothers from different eras including brothers that we may not have been in contact with since graduation.

The story of MCAC continues to be written; with strong alumni involvement and leadership that story will continue for generations. The MCAC leadership consists of brothers that joined Sigma Pi in the late 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s. By the way, that picture in the last issue of The Emerald was taken circa 1987 – about 30 years ago. Many of the brothers in that picture are today’s leaders of our alumni club. Before ending, we’d like to offer a special thanks and express our appreciation to all Delta-Alpha Chapter alumni that have contributed time, money, knowledge, and their leadership talents to our alumni club, active chapter, and housing association.

A member of Delta-Alpha Chapter not part of MCAC yet, or a Sigma Pi alumni wanting to learn more about joining an alumni club, can contact us at delta-alpha.com.

Have a story you want to share? Submit it to us at theemerald.org/submit. It may be featured here on The Emerald Online, or in one of our printed issues of The Emerald magazine. If you do not receive the printed issues, please opt-in at sigmapi.org/updateinfo.

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How to Get the Most Out of Conference Attendance http://theemerald.org/2017/06/23/how-to-get-the-most-out-of-conference-attendance/ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 14:44:52 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2596 This story was printed in the Summer 2017 issue of The Emerald magazine.  If you do not receive printed issues of the magazine, but would like to, then please opt-in at sigmapi.org/updateinfo.

Once upon a time…

There was a college freshman who was a “rising star” in his chapter, or at least that’s what he was told. The truth was he wasn’t really sure what that meant. All he knew was that he really enjoyed his Fraternity – Sigma Pi. It was because of this that he decided he wanted to experience everything it had to offer. Chapter meetings were “okay” since they got everyone together each week, like a mini-reunion. Brotherhood and service events were fun, but never seemed to get a big turnout. The freshman would attend events, after-meetings, after-socials, and so on; always thinking “This is great and all but… I feel like there has to be more.”

Then, during a chapter meeting, the Sage stood at the front of the room going on with the weekly business. However, there was something unusual on the agenda: Election of delegate to Sigma Pi University. “What is that?” thought the member. He never heard of Sigma Pi University during new member education and he would know – he was pledge class president and scored a 100 on his exam. The member waited patiently to hear what this could be.

Finally, the chapter Sage explained, “This summer there will be a Sigma Pi University or SPU for short. SPU is a leadership conference put on by the Executive Office for every chapter to send their next generation of leaders to. We need to…” At this point the freshman’s big brother began elbowing him in the ribs. He leaned over and whispered, “You should totally go for this!” The freshman thought, “Maybe I should…” then focused once again on the Sage: “SPU will be in Tennessee this year and the chapter budgeted for the expense to send someone, so cost shouldn’t be a factor. Whomever we elect to send will be receiving some of the best leadership training that the Fraternity has to offer. Not only that, but they will meet and get ideas from brothers at every chapter in Sigma Pi, which is pretty cool
by itself.”

His mind was now made up, the freshman wanted to attend this “SPU.” Waiting for the Sage’s speech to roll to a stop, he heard the words he was waiting for: “I’ll open the floor for nominees to attend SPU on behalf of our chapter.” The young member’s hand went up and he immediately saw a grin spread wide across his big brother’s face. He quickly scanned the room for the competition he may face. Much to his surprise, there wasn’t much to speak of…

After the election process concluded, the young freshman had secured his ticket to Sigma Pi University.

After the meeting, he found his big brother and asked him a question. “Hey, why do you think no one else wanted to go to SPU? I thought it would be a much harder fight.” His big brother looked at him with that same grin and said, “Listen man, someone once told me something about fraternities that I’m going to tell you.” The young member nodded and listened. “He told me ‘Getting the most out of the Fraternity is up to you, completely. You just have to be willing to put the most you can into it!’ I think if you stick to that, you really can’t go wrong, okay?”

Seeing the confused look on the freshman’s face, he realized he needed to dive a little deeper. “Look, the reason the others didn’t jump at the chance to go to SPU has a lot to do with how they see the Fraternity. They keep waiting to ‘get the most,’ without ‘putting the most’ in. I went to SPU when I first joined, too, and it was amazing! I still keep up with some of the guys I met there from both California and Canada. But I knew it meant giving up time during summer break. Time where I could be making money, taking an extra class, or just relaxing.”

The freshman then realized all of the things he planned to do that summer. His big brother continued, “The bottom line is – it was worth it! When you go this summer, you’re the kind of guy who is going to go out of his way to meet brothers, take photos with the Grand Council, visit the museum and meet the staff, and come back with a plan to improve everything in our Chapter.” The young member finally recognized his big brother’s grin for what it was – he was proud of him. “In other words, when you come back from this summer’s leadership conference, you will be the future.”

– Based on my true experiences as a freshman member of Sigma Pi

Have a story you want to share? Submit it to us at theemerald.org/submit. It may be featured here on The Emerald Online, or in one of our printed issues of The Emerald magazine. If you do not receive the printed issues, please opt-in at sigmapi.org/updateinfo.

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From the Battlefield to the Classroom: Being a Student in the Military (Delta-Beta at Monmouth) http://theemerald.org/2017/05/12/from-the-battlefield-to-the-classroom-being-a-student-in-the-military-delta-beta-at-monmouth/ Fri, 12 May 2017 14:14:07 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2591 EDITORS NOTE: The excerpt below originally ran in an article on the The Outlook online publication and was written by Clare Maurer. To read the article in its entirety, please click here

NOTE: Cesar Monterroso (Monmouth ’19) is currently a new member at Delta-Beta Chapter at Monmouth University.

Most college students feel like they have enough problems to warrant all the stress in the world—balancing classes, activities, jobs, and maintaining relationships; however, there is a population of Monmouth students who balance more than the average student could imagine: serving our country at the same time.

Cesar Monterroso, a sophomore criminal justice student, is a prime example of someone leading a life of schoolwork, and a life in the military. He is a member of the United States Reserve, as a Flying Chief for the KC-10A Extender at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in South New Jersey. “I wanted to join and serve my country, but I also wanted the flexibility of being in the reserves to attend college at the same time,” explained Monterroso. “I joined with the mentality of eventually bettering myself down the road. I also loved being around aircrafts growing up, and even today I am still mesmerized when I walk up to the [aircraft], so it was a win-win situation.”

Another student involved in the military is Samuel Herrara, a senior computer science student, who is also a United States Marine. “My dad was in the Navy when I was young, so I was raised on a Naval Base in South Carolina. My dad is my hero and my greatest influence to be in the military,” Herrara said. “He raised me in a strict military manner, so the military lifestyle is all I ever knew. I specifically chose the Marine Corps because I remember as a young boy I would read about the legacy of the Corps, and I just knew I belonged in the greatest fighting force in the world.”

Being a college student and a member of a military branch are two extremely different ways of life. George M. Kapalka, Ph.D., a professor of professional counseling, explained the differences in the lifestyles, “It is a different mindset. In the military, direction is given ‘from the top’ – it is expected that the commanding officers have most (if not all) the answers and give instructions to those under their directions, and those commands are to be followed precisely and completely,”

Kapalka continued, “A college student is expected to do much more self-starting, and is expected to function more independently. Individual preferences and choices matter and are encouraged. This can be a hard change in mindset for those who primarily experienced military life for a number of years, where life is organized for them…. In college, facing all these decisions that one has to make individually can feel overwhelming.”

Michael Callahan, Coordinator of Veteran Services, pointed out that the differences are unique for every student who comes from any type of military experience, whether it be working the reserves, or veterans starting school after many years in service.

Monterroso has definitely experienced the stress of balancing the two duties. “I was just deployed to Southwest Asia over the summer, right after our spring semester ended. I returned a couple of weeks ago and it took some readjusting on my part being that I was almost three weeks behind with six classes. But with enough determination, anything is doable,” he said.

Monterroso advised, “You just have to find your groove and go with the flow. Being in the military has its advantages when it comes to the experiences you have been through and being able to implement those experiences in class with what you are learning. I also get to fly around the world during the weekends or whenever school is not in session. So it is a great honor being able to serve in that matter.”

On the other hand, military training can provide time management and an effective routine for students. Herrara pointed out, “I accredit my ability to balance being a student and a Marine to my military training. Being a computer science major and minor in physics and exercising three times a day is not easy but I am very disciplined so I manage it well.”

Kapalka expanded on the idea of the differences in daily routine, “In the military, the focus usually is on ‘what I have to do to fulfill my expectations.’ In college, the focus usually is ‘do I know what I choose to do with my life, and do I know how to get there.’

Another difference pertains to amount of structure. In the military, your day is pretty much planned for you. In college, you have to organize yourself to keep up with the material, readings, etc., and set up your own daily structure.”

So what takes priority when you walk down two paths at once? Herrara explained, “School is of course incredibly important, but I would say my top priority is to ensure that I am physically and mentally ready to lead Marines. It’s not about me anymore, it’s about being a great officer for my future Marines and serving for God, country, [and] family.”

Monterroso agreed, saying “School definitely, but when duty calls, duty calls. You have to be willing to put service before self, one hundred percent of the time.”

We have 84 veterans at Monmouth, according to Callahan. That’s a chunk of our student body that you may not have been aware of. Callahan works at ensuring these students and students who are currently serving have a support system and a means of staying on track. “There’s so many variables and it’s so complex. That’s why this office is here, so we offer a bunch of programming to those younger student veterans, then the older student veterans, female student veterans, LGBT student veterans… and also discouraging isolation,” Callahan explained.

If getting involved with serving the country is something you’re interested in or learning more about, talk to any of the students involved and listen to their stories. Herrara said, “It takes a whole new level of commitment and it certainly will not be easy. There’s a reason why Marines are called ‘the few.’ But there’s also a reason why we are ‘the proud.’ And that reason is why this difficult path is worth all the struggle.”

Concluded Monterroso, “Don’t let anyone stop you. Do something you can see yourself doing for many years. The military will not only help you gain skills, but you will get to meet great people along the way.”

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Theta-Gamma Chapter (West Alabama) Honors Friend for Donate Life Month http://theemerald.org/2017/04/21/theta-gamma-chapter-west-alabama-honors-friend-for-donate-life-month/ Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:54:36 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2584 Because of Libby Hankins, Theta-Gamma Chapter has created a movement in Livingston, Alabama.

Libbywho attended the University of West Alabama and is a member of Phi Mu sororitywas diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at two-years-old and was treated at the Children’s Hospital of Alabama, and later, the University of Birmingham Hospital. In February of 2016, she was sent to Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina where she received two new lungs. However, her lungs began to be rejected by her body and she passed away at the age of 23.

In 2016, during the time the transplant took place, Theta-Gamma Chapter and the Local Phi Mu chapter partnered together to sign up the students of UWA as organ donors through Donate Life. Libby would’ve graduated this spring. Because of the actions of Sigma Pi and Phi Mu, her legacy on campus thrives. This year, the Chapter wanted to take it one step farther.

“At the beginning of the year I knew I wanted to incorporate Libby [into the campaign], because she just had her double-lung transplant in the month of April,” Will Tittle (’18), who has led the campaign for Theta-Gamma Chapter, told ABC 33/40 News.

Tittle asked Libby’s sorority sisters at Phi Mu to join the mission. The group decided to set a goal of 500 registrations, a large increase in comparison to what Theta-Gamma had achieved on campus in past years.

Now two-thirds of the way through April, Theta-Gamma has seen over 1,130 registrations, and has decided to raise their goal Donate Life Month to 1,500 signees.

You can sign up or check the campaign’s progress on Theta-Gamma Chapter’s Donate Life page. To find your chapter’s specific Donate Life Month page, visit the Donate Life Month page on the Sigma Pi website.

Below, Laurel Elmore, Libby’s best friend, shared her thoughts on Donate Life and how it impacted Libby’s life after receiving her donation.


Elizabeth Scott “Libby” Hankins was my best friend. I use the word “was” very hesitantly because in my heart, she will live forever.

Libby was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of two after having multiple “sick” visits to her local pediatrician. Cystic Fibrosis or “CF” is a chronic genetic disorder that primarily affects the respiratory and digestive systems. One of the main symptoms of CF is thick, sticky mucus that collects in the lungs, creating difficulty breathing and increased infections.

Libby spent weeks to months per year in the hospital for various surgeries, infections, and issues caused by CF. She missed proms, homecomings, birthdays, and almost every Christmas due to her hospitalizations. Through it all, she was one of the most positive and vibrant humans I have ever met. Her charisma and charm lit up a room, and her laugh was the best I’ve ever heard. She found good in all things, situations, and people; never pitied herself but certainly pushed herself; and made the best of every situation. When she was in elementary school and high school, she and her mom would decorate her room at Children’s Hospital of Alabama with a Christmas tree, lights, snowmen… anything to make it feel like home. Libby would proudly show me her tree and her theme for that Christmas, and you would never know she wasn’t in her own home cozied up by a roaring fire. She just made the best out of everything life sent her way. I can’t imagine how different her life would have been without her “make your own sunshine” attitude.

Libby and I grew up four doors down from each other, and with an 11-year difference in our ages, I can remember every stage of her life.

During the youthful stage of our relationship, she was the adorable curly-headed blonde little girl who loved her older neighbor, and likewise. I remember seeing her at events at school or in town, and as soon as those big eyes would see me, she would run full speed into my open arms and giggle. Libby grew more beautiful each year of her life, but seeing her as a toddler in printed swing dresses with huge hair bows holding back those curls will forever be a favorite memory of mine.

When my husband and I got engaged, I couldn’t wait to ask her to be a bridesmaid. I remember so vividly asking her in the hallway of their house and her excitedly jumping from flat-footed in front of me to a full body hug with arms and legs wrapped tightly around me. She was there for every event and memory throughout my year-long engagement unless an illness or hospitalization kept her away. We grew closer and realized that time had faded that age difference. She became someone I talked to when something was good or bad in my life, someone who always knew the answer to what I was dealing with, someone who would listen to me without agenda, someone who loved me with all she had and would have moved Heaven and earth for me. That was Libby. She was surely a teenager who loved her fun, but her life experiences in dealing with CF gave her a maturity level beyond her biological age.

After a few years passed, I became pregnant. At midnight, I drove down to her apartment at college because I couldn’t wait to tell her. My husband and I both loved and admired her so much that we had decided long before I was even pregnant that we would name our child after her.

Hankins Scott Campbell arrived a few months later after 16 hours of labor. Libby was fighting a CF infection at the time and slept in chairs, her mom’s lap, and finally an empty hospital bed, but she was not leaving until she could see Hank and hug me. She became “Aunt Scottie” that night, and it was a role she took seriously.

Six months passed and at the young age of 22, Libby’s health was failing. Her only hope for survival was a life-saving double lung transplant. We prayed hard, and God gave us our miracle. Libby received a call on April 17, 2016, that available lungs were a match. Our prayers were answered. I was beside the bed the night she got her transplant, just as I had promised and was one of the first people she asked for once she woke up and could communicate. When I got to the bedside the next morning, she gently took my hand, flipped it over, and wrote: “I love you” in the palm of my hand. I felt more relief and hope than I had in months. One precious organ donor had given me my friend back.

She recovered and moved home after a long eight months. We talked about plans and dreams and trips we would take. We planned future birthday parties, proms, and dating rules for my son, Hank. We were so happy to have so much time to do all these things and couldn’t wait to get started.

Two months later, she left for Durham, NC, in an ambulance. I prayed harder than I ever have in my life for a second miracle. Three weeks later, I drove ten hours through the night to tell her goodbye for the last time. A virus had attacked her lungs, and her immune system was not strong enough to fight it. I promised to be by her side until the end, and I was. Just as she wouldn’t leave me the night I had Hank, I wouldn’t leave her. It was the honor of my life to be there with her in those last moments.

Organ donation saved my best friend. One selfless donor gave us hundreds of new memories, 11 beautiful months and such an overwhelming testimony of love and faith. With those two lungs, she learned what it felt like to breathe deeply, laugh without coughing, jog easily, go shopping without oxygen, and feel like herself again, only better. With those two lungs, she taught her first classroom of special needs children, lit the Advent candle at our Christmas service at our church, played on the beach in Wilmington, and shared her beautiful story with thousands of followers on our Facebook page, “Lungs for Libby.” With those two lungs she went Christmas shopping, ate our last Mexican dinner together, played with Hank and made him laugh until he lost his breath, she sang loudly and off key to me in the car, and her story strengthened my faith in God and humanity. Because of those two lungs, I loved her deeper, prayed harder, and trusted God more than I ever have. Some say 11 months isn’t a long time. I say to those people that 11 months brought more joy and more love than you can measure. 11 months was “just right” in God’s eyes and as hard as it is to let her go, His timing is much more perfect than mine. Were those eleven months worth it? ABSOLUTELY. I am so thankful for every moment of those months. I ask myself, what if I could do that for someone else…for multiple people even, just by making one decision? Count me in. To me, it doesn’t even require any thought or decision. Please consider it today. What if you could do for someone what Libby’s donor did for us?

I am indescribably thankful for her 11 months. I am overwhelmingly thankful for her donor and their decision to do this for a stranger. One of the hardest things about losing her is knowing the family of that beautiful donor will never have the opportunity to meet Libby. If I could tell them one thing, it would be thank you from the depths of my soul. You have given us more than you could ever imagine.

 

Photo Credits: Laurel Campbell (UWA MUSE)

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Alumnus Leads New Jim Henson Puppetry Museum http://theemerald.org/2017/03/17/alumnus-leads-new-jim-henson-puppetry-museum/ Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:36:20 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2575 This story was printed in the Fall 2016 issue of The Emerald magazine.  If you do not receive printed issues of the magazine, but would like to, then please opt-in at sigmapi.org/updateinfo.

When University of Georgia alumnus Allen Yee (Georgia ’99) learned a museum to house his favorite childhood characters was to be built, he knew he had to be involved. So in 2012, he joined the Board of Directors of the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta as it launched a massive expansion dedicated to the work of the world’s most famous and beloved puppeteer Jim Henson. Working with the Henson family, the Center opened the official World of Jim Henson museum three years later to much fanfare (including features in Smithsonian Magazine and national television coverage on CNN) selecting Yee as its new Chairman in the process.

The $15 million dollar, 15,000 square foot, “Kermit-green” wing houses the definitive collection of Jim Henson’s work with memorabilia such as his Emmys, original artwork, and even the desk from his office. Interactive exhibits, including a puppet workshop and a TV studio allow school children to try their own hand at performing with puppets on camera. The highlight of the collection are originals of popular characters like Miss Piggy, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and of course Kermit the Frog. “It is only one of three places in the world the public can see Henson’s original work, one of the others being the Smithsonian, so we are in good company” explains Yee, who adds “but our collection in Atlanta is the biggest and best.” The Center expects to host over 250,000 visitors annually at the new attraction and its existing arts and education offerings.

Jim Henson educated and entertained generations of children and adults alike. Programs like Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and the Muppet Show as well as his work on movies like the Dark Crystal and Labyrinth have been seen around the world. “The world loved Henson and his creations and mourned his sudden death in 1990. It is a great honor to have his work permanently showcased in Atlanta” says Yee. “And it is humbling to be entrusted with helping ensure those priceless treasurers continue to educate and entertain for years to come.”

For Yee, an attorney at The
Coca-Cola Company, ensuring that future generations have access to education and arts is not just limited to Muppets and Fraggles. He also serves on the boards of the Sigma Pi Educational Foundation, The Atlanta Opera, and is an active alumnus and generous supporter of his alma mater and chapter. For his community leadership, Yee was recognized by the University of Georgia Alumni Association in 2013 as one of its “40 Under 40” outstanding young alumni.

“Sesame Street was my favorite educational show as a child and I studied for seven years at the University of Georgia” says Yee. “It is fitting that my way of giving a little back to education is helping out with Jim Henson’s museum, the University, and of course Sigma Pi.”

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New York Stock Exchange Helps Army SSGT Chris Page (Seton Hall ’05) Surprise Reunion http://theemerald.org/2017/03/10/new-york-stock-exchange-helps-army-ssgt-chris-page-seton-hall-05-surprise-reunion/ Fri, 10 Mar 2017 14:54:18 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2571 EDITOR’S NOTE: The selection below originally ran in an article on the The Street publication and was written by Gabriel Kinder. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Army SSGT Chris Page (Seton Hall ’05) is a newlywed and for the last year he has been deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, and surrounding countries. His wife, Erica, had no idea he was on his way home.

When she was asked to attend a ceremony at the New York Stock exchange to present an American flag, she thought she was there to simply honor her husband and his service to the nation. She was joined by representatives of several veterans service organizations, and during their remarks, other speakers helped with the cover story by mentioning SSGT Page was still overseas.

While Erica Page was addressing the crowd, she had no idea that her husband was sneaking in behind her. She was asked what she would say to her husband if he was there, and then turned around to see him standing behind her with flowers.

Check out the video below:

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Jay Jacobs (Auburn ’85) named Athletic Director of the Year http://theemerald.org/2017/03/03/jay-jacobs-auburn-85-named-athletic-director-of-the-year/ Fri, 03 Mar 2017 14:00:33 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2566 EDITOR’S NOTE: The selection below originally ran in a press release on the Auburn University website. To read the release in its entirety, please click here.

Sigma Pi alumnus Jay Jacobs (Auburn ’85), who serves as the Athletic Director for Auburn University, has been named a 2016-2017 NACDA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year.

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics award voted on by a select committee of athletic directors “highlights the efforts of athletics directors at all levels for their commitment and positive contributions to student-athletes, campuses and their surrounding communities,” according to NACDA’s news release.

Auburn President Jay Gogue nominated Jacobs, who was named athletics director in 2005 after working in nearly every area of the department for 20 years.

“This is a great day for Auburn and a tremendous honor for Jay Jacobs, his staff and all those who are responsible for this well-deserved recognition,” Gogue said.

The Auburn president said Auburn Athletics has excelled in each of the areas he deems important for a balanced and successful athletic program.

“Under Jay’s leadership, our student-athletes are excelling in the classroom and in competition,” Gogue said. “Auburn Athletics is in a strong position financially. Our gameday experience was voted best in the SEC and Auburn has not had a major NCAA violation during Jay’s tenure. I’ve always said a great athletics department excels in each of these areas, and we are doing that thanks to Jay and his staff.”

Gogue also said he appreciates Jacobs’ longtime service to Auburn, where he walked on the football team before beginning a career spanning three decades at Auburn Athletics.

“This well-deserved award is a tremendous credit to Jay and all he has meant to Auburn throughout his career. He leads the department with integrity, and I’m pleased how he represents Auburn so well, Gogue said.”

Jacobs said he would accept the NACDA AD of the Year award at the organization’s June meeting in Orlando on behalf of Auburn and the entire athletic department, which he credited for the recognition.

“I’m humbled by this honor, and I deeply appreciate NACDA and the distinguished selection committee for recognizing Auburn Athletics,” Jacobs said. “This award is a credit to the entire university, the Auburn Athletics Department staff, our coaches and student-athletes. I share it with each of them.”

Jacobs said the chance to play football and earn two degrees at Auburn made him who he is today.

“Auburn is a special place that means so much to my family and me,” Jacobs said. “The greatest honor of all is serving my alma mater and having the chance each day to impact the lives of our incredible student-athletes. They make me proud to be an Auburn man.”

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Pakistani Student at Murray State Makes Most of Short Stay http://theemerald.org/2017/02/23/pakistani-student-at-murray-state-makes-most-of-short-stay/ Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:39:28 +0000 http://theemerald.org/?p=2562 EDITOR’S NOTE: The selection below originally ran in an article on the The Murray State News publication and was written by Nick Erickson. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

There is an abundance of foreign exchange students who travel from their home countries to attend Murray State. However, not many of those students stay for the traditional college timespan of four years. Not many of these students affiliate themselves with Greek life on campus, either. Birth Subhash, an exchange student from Karachi, Pakistan, is breaking this norm by rushing Sigma Pi this semester and immersing himself in the activities and friendship the fraternity has to offer.

Subhash, a junior computer science major, came to Murray State through the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), which chose Murray State as his best fit.

“I’m here for just one semester, but I can accomplish a lot,” Subhash said. “Although it’s such a short stay, I’m so happy with Murray.”

Subhash said he wanted to enroll in the foreign exchange program to learn more about U.S. culture, as well as his own.

Subhash said IREX required him to engage in an on-campus student organization, and he said joining a fraternity was a great opportunity to do so. He had never known about Sigma Pi before coming to Murray State, but soon knew it was the fraternity for him.

“I met with one guy from Sigma Pi, and he told me everything about it,” Subhash said. “Then, I met with other brothers and everyone was really helping, so I decided to join.”

Subhash said he has some other requirements from the IREX, and he plans to correlate with his relations with the fraternity.

“I can complete most of the program requirements through being in Sigma Pi,” Subhash said. “For example, I can do my 20 hours of community service, all while being with my brothers.”

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