The Hope College Alcor chapter of Mortar Board has placed first in the national organization's "Virtual Book Drive" for the fourth consecutive year, raising funds to provide books to children nationally as well as locally.
The chapter raised $13,493.50 in the July 30-November 16 drive, which the national Mortar Board organization held in conjunction with First Book, a national literacy nonprofit. The chapter also earned $1,250 in bonuses from First Book for raising the largest amount during each of month of the competition.
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.
Of the total raised by the Hope chapter, approximately $12,000 will become credit for use by Jefferson Elementary School in Holland. The other approximately $2,500 of the funds will support 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 first- through fifth-grade students. The chapter also collected approximately 300 books that will be divided between Jefferson Elementary School and CASA, and members of the chapter will visit Jefferson for a reading day with the students.
Across the drive's four years, the Hope chapter has raised more than $37,000.
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 229 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 has received multiple awards at the Mortar Board National Conference during each of the past several years, including being named the top chapter during the national conference in July 2010. During the conference this year, the chapter received a "Golden Torch Award," 12 "Project Excellence" awards, and the second annual "First Book Award" for having been the top chapter in last year's national "Reading is Leading" Virtual Book Drive Challenge.