From a chickadee: Bianca
As any student at the University of Texas at Austin can attest to, campus is an overwhelming influx of information at the beginning of each semester as clubs and organizations table on Gregory Plaza and hand out flyers in a frenzy in the hopes of increasing membership. As a freshman, I looked through all these clubs and wondered which one I would commit my time to over the next four years (and hopefully make some friends along the way). I stumbled across this organization, Chickadees, and decided to apply. I filled out the application, interviewed, and was invited to be a part of the new Delta class.
As the newest members of Chickadees, we were to put on a Peep Project, an effort to partner with an organization of choice that would benefit the Greater Austin community. Earlier this semester, a friend told me that the most pressing challenge in raising awareness for a cause is the competition to stand out against all the other do good organizations in the world. Everyone has a noble cause they want to fight for, and so the Delta class was tasked with finding the perfect cause.
At our first Peep meeting, twenty-two strangers (along with our wonderful Peep mentor, Elizabeth!) sat together in a room and tried to brainstorm what causes we were passionate about and what organizations we wanted to give back to. However, with over twenty-two different girls voicing their opinions, it was incredibly difficult to agree on one singular cause.
Sitting back in my seat, I will be the first to voice my disbelief at the prospect that all the girls in the room would not only somehow choose a singular cause to work with and devise some sort of event that will serve as culmination of our efforts to actively better the Austin community, but bond and form long lasting friendships along the way. After weeks and weeks of research and debate, the Delta class discovered Sammy’s House, a nonprofit dedicated to helping medically disadvantaged children. The Delta class soon contacted representatives from Sammy’s House and learned that they needed money to afford a special tricycle for the kids.
We began to plan potential fundraising ideas before eventually settling on a week full of activities that would not only raise the needed amount, but provide an opportunity for us to spread awareness about Sammy’s House as well. We began the week with a raffle where people could pay to spin-the-wheel and win prizes. The next day, we set up a compatibility test and matched up students who filled out our questionnaire and on Wednesday, we hosted profit shares. On Thursday, we sold t-shirts, and on Friday, we sold hair ties and wrote encouraging messages on the Up-inspired house that we had constructed. Throughout the week, the Peeps would strike up conversations with people stopping by and talk about Sammy’s House and their impact in the Austin community. Overall, the week was incredibly successful as we not only raised funds for Sammy’s House, but shared their mission with others as well.
To assuage our worries as we spent several hectic months planning our week-long event, we were told that our involvement with Sammy’s House would bond us over the course of the year and we would be rewarded by being a closer Delta class. Though I am sure this is what is intended, I found myself bonding not solely during our formal meetings with each other, but in the little insignificant moments in between. I bonded with my fellow Peeps over Justin Bieber blaring on our phones as we baked cake pops to sell. I bonded with my fellow Peeps as we laughed over funny memes of Ryan Gosling and Jennifer Lawrence that were used to advertise our Week of Love. I bonded with my fellow Peeps as I lost my voice during the week, jokingly harassing passerby to stop at our table and learn about Sammy’s House. I bonded with my fellows Peeps when we visited Sammy’s House for the first time and finally met the kids that we were working so hard for.
Though our Peep Project is over, I still smile each time I walk into a room and see members of the Delta class. I am humbled to be able to call this group of funny, talented, wonderful girls my friends and I am excited to see how our relationship with Sammy’s House and the incredibly sweet kids develop over these next few years.
2016-17 Public Relations Chair