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Panhandle State PBL Awarded National March of Dimes Grant

Submitted by Dr. Sara Hitch on 08/30/2017 Panhandle State PBL is making plans for another exciting Purp Out this year. Some group members are pictured here during last year’s Purp Out at the Chili Cook-off. —Photo by Sage KinseyPanhandle State PBL is making plans for another exciting Purp Out this year. Some group members are pictured here during last year’s Purp Out at the Chili Cook-off. —Photo by Sage Kinsey

Goodwell, Okla. — Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) National Leadership Conference concluded for Panhandle State’s business club students almost two months ago, yet some of the highlights remain very current. Indeed, for the first time ever, the Oklahoma Panhandle State University chapter was recognized on the national stage during the Opening Session as one of three recipients of a $1000 March of Dimes grant.

For the past four years, PBL at Panhandle State has hosted a “Purp Out” event as their major fundraiser for the March of Dimes, a 40-plus-year partner of FBLA-PBL. After trying several possibilities for dates and events, Purp Out is now held in November as part of Prematurity Awareness month and in conjunction with Panhandle State’s Chili Cook-off and the last home football game. Activities have included face painting (with primarily purple paint), purple bow making, purple cookie giving, and information sharing. The main purpose of Purp Out is twofold: 1) to raise public awareness that every year, 15 million babies are born too soon, and 2) to raise money for the March of Dimes.

During Purp Out 2016, students raised close to $200 for Oklahoma’s Western Division of the March of Dimes—all monies raised stayed in Oklahoma, and more specifically, in the regional area. Not only do students learn the value of fundraising for a specific cause, but there is also the possibility of national recognition. State and local chapters raising the most are recognized at the National Leadership Conference. FBLA-PBL headquarters also sponsors three $1000 grants to go to three chapters for future events. This past January, when the grant application period opened, Panhandle State’s PBL Chapter submitted an application and, as often happens in that type of situation, promptly forgot about it. On June 24, members and advisors were shocked to be called to the stage to receive one of those three grants.

Planning for Purp Out begins in August, during the very first PBL meeting of the fall semester. Students have long said it is one of their favorite events of the year, and as such, it is not uncommon to have 15-20 students volunteer to help. Every year, students try to make the event bigger and better than the year before, but often, there are monetary constraints on what can be done. Thanks to the grant from FBLA-PBL and the March of Dimes, Purp Out 2017 should be the biggest and most beneficial yet! PBL members have already started brainstorming and looking forward to planning sessions.