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Letter from the President
Cisse Spragins
April 10, 2010


Greetings fellow members! I hope this letter finds you with swarms and ants galore...

Firstly, let me say that it is an honor to serve as the president of an organization with such a rich history. It is a responsibility I take quite seriously. It is also a pleasure to have so many wonderfully helpful people with whom to work.

As we look at what lies ahead for our nearly 60-year old fraternity, it is important that we respect our past and also keep in touch with the times. We had an excellent and fruitful discussion at the recent Purdue Conference regarding the fact that the number of members that are retiring (or resigning) exceeds the number of new members coming into the fraternity. We had established the E-Update a few years ago as a supplement to the written newsletter, to be more in keeping with the times and how many people now communicate. We also have a nicely up-to-date website, www.pichiomega.org, thanks to the generous contribution of Dale Baker and the JT Eaton Company. We have also recently set up a Facebook Professional Organization page. As of this writing, 17 members have joined the Facebook page. If you arenít one of them, please log in to Facebook and search "Pi Chi Omega" and join the group.

While you're there, post some comments or start a discussion. Facebook really is an excellent forum to discuss a topic, particularly a 'current events' one. Be aware, of course, that your comments are public to any member of the group. While E-Updates, websites and Facebook are all nice communication tools, the most effective way to recruit new members is to simply talk about the fraternity and ask people to join. For folks who are interested, it is easy to then refer them to the website to download the Nomination Form. To help coax that person along, you can download the form yourself from the website and email it to them. Many of us give a number of presentations throughout the year. Why not briefly mention Pi Chi Omega at the end of your presentation? Or if you are involved with running state meetings, you can mention it there. These are great ways to initiate and supplement one-on-one conversations. To help facilitate this, we have created a couple of Powerpoint slides about the fraternity that you can add to your presentation. These will be available on the website shortly and are also attached to this E-Update. A laudable goal, I think, would be to get 20 new members this year.

In other fraternity business, letters have gone out to professors soliciting scholarship applications for this years' awards. Vern's efforts are significant in this regard and we can't thank him enough. Thanks also to those who helped update the list of professors. Thanks to Vern's helper Heidi for her typing and design skills, a clean copy of the Scholarship Application and accompanying materials are now available on the website for easy download for interested students. A letter-sized "Money Available" poster is also attached to this E-Update and will be uploaded to the website. While you're out recruiting new members, please spread the word about the scholarships as well.

As many of you are aware, one function of the fraternity has been to collect research ideas from PMPs in the field. Thanks to President-Elect Jim Sargeant for his ongoing efforts in this endeavor. To encourage professors to sponsor students for scholarships, we have decided to provide the list of research ideas collected to those professors who sponsor students. To extend this concept, the 'research ideas' form is attached to this E-Update and will soon be on the website. This will make it easier for members to solicit ideas in other venues, besides at just the Purdue conference and the NPMA conference.

On the topic of scholarships, there has been discussion for some time regarding individuals who may wish to establish a scholarship in the name of a prominent pest management professional, with Pi Chi Omega administering the scholarships. A committee has been formed to put together recommendations of how this would work and what the requirements would be from those wishing to establish such a scholarship. We are delighted for the opportunity to work on this, and feel it can only help the fraternity.

In terms of other service projects, we have decided once again to collect funds for Heifer International. As most of you are aware, this organization helps provide a means to make a living for someone in need, through the gift of a beehive or farm animals. In discussions at Purdue, we decided for this year's donations that we will specify that the funds are used domestically, recognizing that many in the United States are experiencing hardships. You'll be able to specify a donation on your next dues statement, or send a donation directly to Vern, appropriately marked.

As you can see, we have lots of projects going on. Iím excited and hopeful that with our combined efforts we can increase member recruitment, and provide for a more interaction among members. Best wishes to you all for a fruitful 2010.


Cisse Spragins