UA sorority named top chapter for second time
BY MARSHA L. MELNICHAK Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Monday, September 22, 2008
Members of the University of Arkansas chapter of Pi Beta Phi received the coveted and prestigious Balfour Cup honoring their chapter as the best internationally for the second time in a row at ceremonies Sunday on the lawn of the sorority house in Fayetteville.
“ These days, it is not that often a chapter is able to continually achieve at a high level. It’s tough to win the Balfour Cup the first time, but it is darn near impossible to win it two years in a row, ” said National President Emily Russell Tarr of Texarkana.
If it is won a third time, it is retired to the sorority house.
The cup is presented annually to the most outstanding Pi Beta Phi chapter, based on financial management, community service and philanthropic activities, scholarship, risk management, campus leadership and involvement.
The university’s Arkansas Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi won the award four times before this year, in 1945, 1946, 1947 and last year.
“ This is the top award our organization gives. They are the top out of 131 chapters in the United States and Canada, ” Tarr said.
The national president spoke about the ideals and values of Greek life as portrayed by the Arkansas Alpha chapter.
“ Greek is a lot more than just a social network. Being Greek is about honor and integrity. It’s about learning leadership skills and about having the opportunity to use those skills to benefit others. Being Greek is about personal and intellectual growth, ” Tarr said.
Before making the cup presentation, Tarr also presented awards to the chapter for excellence in community service and philanthropy activities, the Panhellenic award for large chapters, and a silver tray for reaching phi level, the highest rank a chapter can achieve. The Balfour Cup recipient was chosen from among the nine chapters to reach that level of excellence.
The Panhellenic award is presented for a spirit of interaction with other groups. The word Panhellenic means all-Greek. The Pi Beta Phi sorority is the first chapter to receive the Panhellenic achievement award on the Arkansas campus, Tarr said.
As an example of why the Arkansas chapter won the Balfour Cup, Tarr cited proceeds from the chaptersponsored 5 K run being used to decorate and stock a children’s library and to donate to First Book, an organization that provides disadvantaged children with new books.
UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart described the group’s second win of the Balfour Cup as “ close to unprecedented, ” “ absolutely incredible ” and “ absolutely fantastic. ”
He told those at Sunday’s event, “ You all ought to be very, very proud of that. ”
“ Winning the Balfour Cup really shows the wide spectrum of work we do for the community and the difference we can make. It really shows our values and what we’re about than what some people might think, ” said Hillary Swanton of Waco, Texas, president of the 263-member sorority.
Megan McClellan of Bentonville, a senior, said sometimes people not involved in sororities and fraternities don’t recognize their philanthropy and involvement in the community.
She wants people to see that “ it’s more than just parties. It’s more than just functions. We’re getting out and winning national awards. We’re the best Phi Pi chapter in the world. ”
Bekha Hale, past president of the UA chapter, urged the members attending Sunday’s celebration to keep the momentum and teamwork going.
“ Let’s make this a trifecta and bring the Balfour home to stay at Arkansas Alpha, ” she said.
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