Pi(e) Day Goes Big!
SPS Chapters on Building Community
Pi(e) Day Goes Big!
Janessa Slone, SPS Chapter President, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott
Two years ago, our SPS chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott celebrated Pi Day for the first time. Last year our chapter officers decided that this tradition was worth continuing, on one condition: we make the event bigger!
Our first celebration consisted of a Digits of Pi Contest, where students recited as many digits of pi as they could, and the top ten finishers received full-size pies. We also sold “thank you” mini pies, which students could buy for other students or faculty members
To make the 2022 celebration bigger and better, we planned a weeklong fundraiser culminating in several Friday events. Each day in our student union, chapter members sold homemade baked goods―cookies, brownies, chocolate-covered strawberries, and a variety of vegan and gluten-free sweets. We decked out our table with SPS balloons and stickers, and many students bought spherical cow stickers along with their treats.
After four days of volunteer schedules and bake sales, the Friday fun began. Early in the morning, SPS members set up a pie-throwing area in the quad on campus. It was very cold, but that didn’t stop us. As a last hoorah before spring break, SPS officers and four faculty members from the physics and astronomy department volunteered to be pied by students. We charged $2 to throw a pie at the target from about seven feet away, but there was also a $5 option to get a guaranteed hit.
The faculty members were excited to help us raise money. Dr. Michele Zanolin paid for numerous students to throw pies at SPS officers, and even paid for students to throw pies at him! Pie your Professors quickly became a huge hit and secured a spot on next year’s schedule.
During the pie throwing, new volunteers came every hour for seven hours. SPS chapter members continued selling baked goods and pi(e)-themed stickers. We also held another Digits of Pi Contest. First-year student Hailey Beier won a free pie by reciting a record 156 numbers! She’s one of our newest SPS members and really showed her dedication with that accomplishment.
Through these pi-themed activities we raised about $600 to help SPS members travel across the country to the 2022 Physics Congress—and we had a lot of fun.
Our chapter is known for fun and effective fundraisers. In addition to Pie Day, we partner with restaurants like MOD Pizza and sell Chick-fil-A sandwiches, Society of Physics Students T-shirts, fun stickers, and “Spoopy Grams,” which are bags filled with candy, toys, stickers, and handwritten notes from the purchaser/sender. Last fall we sold 300 grams!
If your chapter wants to hold awesome fundraisers, keep in mind the time and thought that goes into an event like Pie Your Professors or Spoopy Grams. Having lots of dedicated members is a huge help, and SPS National is always a great resource for ideas. Be sure your members have a say in the events, prizes, and other details. Our chapter members all have a role in our fundraisers, and that helps to bring us together.