By Sam Alcorn
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Not yet a year old, the Bucknell University chapter of Phi Beta Lambda has two national awards under its belt and is planning a campus recruitment campaign, a community service project and a joint fundraising effort with another school.
A year ago, the campus chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), the collegiate division of Future Business Leaders of America, the largest and oldest student business organization in the United States, didn't even exist. In late June, though, chapter members walked away with two first-place awards at a national competition in Anaheim, Calif.
Michelle Havrilla, Class of '12, and Holly Schoch, Class of '12, teamed up to receive national recognition at the PBL Awards of Excellence on June 23, competing in the Emerging Business Issues debate competition and taking first place. Their topic was based on whether the federal government should pass a temporary worker program.
In addition, Terry Tsai, Class of '10, who competed in a written competition based on Computer Concepts, took first place in his competition.
More than 1,700 college business students attended the national conference to participate in 50 different competitions.
"It was a great start for Bucknell's first year in Phi Beta Lambda," said Havrilla, president of Bucknell's chapter. "The National Leadership conference is filled with speakers, workshops and competitive events. In order to compete at nationals, you must compete at the State Leadership Conference and receive first or second place."
The three students took first-place honors at the Harrisburg, Pa., conference in April. About 300 PBL members are represented in Pennsylvania, while there are more than 2,500 members across the United States.
It was Havrilla, a management and German major from McAdoo, Pa., who got the ball rolling on establishing a chapter at Bucknell.
"I was a very active member of Future Business Leaders of America in high school," said Havrilla. "When I got to Bucknell, I was eager to charter a chapter. It was difficult as a first-year student, but in the end it really paid off."
Growing the chapter
She said one of this year's goals is to grow the 11-member chapter. "I definitely would love to let other Bucknellians experience the conferences and networking that I've experienced this past year," said Havrilla.
This coming year, the Bucknell group, which is being advised by Mark Bettner, professor of management, will partner with Penn State University's chapter to sponsor a fundraising dinner. "We were very lucky that Penn State asked us to partner with them for this fundraising event in the late fall," said Havrilla. "That will give Bucknell's fund-raising a jump start."
Havrilla, who also serves as state secretary for Pennsylvania Phi Beta Lambda, said the state executive council decided to choose the Ronald McDonald House for its state community service project.
"Bucknell will be working hard to raise as much money as possible for the McDonald House this year," said Havrilla.
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