posted December 2, 2009

Mortar Board Chapter Leads in National Book Drive

The Hope College Alcor chapter of Mortar Board has placed first in the national organization's "Virtual Book Drive" for the second consecutive year, a success that is providing an early Christmas gift for area children.

The chapter raised $8,535.38 in the July 25-November 16 drive, which the national Mortar Board organization held in conjunction with First Book, a national literacy nonprofit.

The Mortar Board Virtual Book Drive is a fundraising challenge in which chapters compete to raise funds in order to bring new books to local programs serving children from low-income families.  The funds are available for use through the First Book Marketplace, where programs can choose from hundreds of high-quality titles at deeply discounted prices.

A tenth of the total will support First Book's work providing books to children all over the country.  PineCreekElementary School in the WestOttawaSchool District is receiving the rest along with an additional $500 that the chapter won for being the drive's top fund-raiser, for a total of $8,181.84.

In addition, Hope's Alcor chapter won four $100 Borders gift cards for being the top fundraising chapter during each of the drive's four months.  The chapter is contributing the cards to the Children's After School Achievement (CASA) program, which is a community organization housed at Hope that provides academic and cultural enrichment for at-risk second- through fifth-grade students.

Hope's total in the national Virtual Book Drive exceeded the total raised by the second-place finisher by more than $4,200.  Last year the Hope chapter raised $4,716.65 in the drive, exceeding the second-place total by more than $1,300.  The chapter designated last year's funds for Van Raalte School in Holland and an additional $500 Borders gift card award to CASA.

Along with participating in the July 25-November 16 virtual drive, the chapter also collected books locally for Pine Creek in conjunction with the college's Homecoming celebration, delivering several boxes of books to the school in October.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 227 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.  The chapter's advisors are Dr. Dianne Portfleet, who is an adjunct associate professor of English, and Martie Bultman, who is the wife of HopeCollege president James E. Bultman.

The chapter has repeatedly received national recognition.  During the national organization's annual summer conference this past July, for example, the chapter received its fourth consecutive "Golden Torch Award" for excellence and eight "Project Excellence Awards" - more "Project Excellence Awards" than any other college has ever received.