by Lauren Brandeberry
Associate Alumni Representative, 2011-2012
Most chapters time their drives with the end of the semester, as students sell back their used books and clean out their dorms. Even if finals are already underway (or even over), it’s not too late to pull off a successful book drive. There is still time to get collection bins placed at area book stores for textbook buyback, and to contact dorms about placing collection bins in the hallways or volunteering to help with clean-out. Chapters that have not yet received their orange and green Better World Books collection bins may need to create makeshift bins rather than wait for delivery, but there is nothing to stop them from going out and collecting books right now.
Even more importantly, one of the best sources of used books is just getting underway: professor office clean-outs. Professors collect an enormous number of unwanted (and unused) books over the years, and many chapters find that donations from professors are one of the best sources of books around. Professors often try to clean out their offices after the semester is over, preparing for the new one, and they love offers to help with the cleaning. Get the word out now with fliers, and have a few members commit to sticking around for a few days after finals or coming back a few days before next semester begins to lend professors a hand with boxing up books and taking papers to the recycling bin. It will be well worth the effort.
Better World Books asks for books to be sent in by December 31 to count toward fall book drive totals, but they accept books all year round and books collected in January may still be included in the check for the fall drive. Contact a Better World Books account representative for more information. And don’t forget, it’s never too soon to start thinking about a spring drive!
2. Better World Books campus book drives are completely turn-key operations.
One of the reasons it is not too late to start a drive is because they are “turn-key” operations, meaning Better World Books provides chapters with everything they need to get started right out of the box. Each chapter is assigned an account manager who can provide supplies, guidance, and support. The account manager can help figure out the most effective strategy to get the most out of the short amount of time left. They provide posters, collection bins, shipping boxes (and prepaid mailing labels), and any other supplies a chapter needs. The account manager will even help chapters contact professors and administrators on campus, determine if drives are being run at other local schools, and help with media relations. Any chapter with willing volunteers can get a drive started today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. A Better World Books campus book drive is a fund raiser AND a service project.
Everyone knows Better World Books campus book drives raise money for your local chapter and for Sigma Tau Delta International. Every accepted book earns $1 for the chapter. Last spring alone Sigma Tau Delta chapters raised nearly $15,000 for their local chapters and $4,500 for the Society, which goes to fund events like the annual convention. Eta Theta Chapter from Wayland Baptist University brought in the most accepted books of any Sigma Tau Delta chapter at 1,805, raising $2,260 for their chapter.
What many people don’t realize is that these book drives also help fund literacy programs around the world AND help improve the environment. Each chapter selects one of Better World Books 6 international literacy partners to be the beneficiary of their drive. For every accepted book sold, a portion of the proceeds goes directly to that literacy partner. To date, Better World Books has raised over $10.5 million for literacy programs and libraries around the world.
All books collected, whether they are resold, donated directly, or recycled, are kept out of landfills and put to their best possible use. Over the lifetime of our partnership with Better World Books, Sigma Tau Delta has reused or recycled over 109,000 books. That has saved the lives of an estimated 2,095 trees and prevented the wasting of nearly 1 million gallons of water. These book drives do more than put some much-needed cash in a chapter’s coffers; they have a significant social and environmental impact.
4. In addition to raising money, chapters can win prizes and recognition.
Every chapter that participates in a Better World Books drive will receive a certificate of recognition and an environmental impact report that can be displayed on a website or the English Department bulletin board. These come in handy when it comes time to report chapter activities to the school and make funding requests for next year. The top 25 drives will also be recognized on Facebook.
Top drives in various categories are also eligible to win prizes including Better World Books t-shirts, a $100 donation to the charity of their choice, or a $500 gift certificate to BetterWorldBooks.com.
Finally, the student in charge of the drive that sends the most accepted books will win an all-expenses paid international trip with one of Better World Books literacy partners, so they can see first-hand the impact these drives are having.
5. Students who participate in a drive are eligible to apply for the Better World Books exclusive paid Sigma Tau Delta summer internship.
Better World Books offers an exclusive paid summer internship every year to a Sigma Tau Delta member who has participated in at least one book drive. This is not a “get me coffee and pick up my dry cleaning” internship either. This is six weeks in Better World Books’ main office in Alpharetta, GA. Past interns report meeting with important people inside the company, learning all about its various operations, doing real research, and gaining invaluable experience.
To get a better feel for what the Better World Books Summer Internship is all about, check out this blog article by 2011 Intern Becky Cressy and this interview with 2010 Intern Kerrin Epstein.
The deadline for applications is January 31, 2012, plenty of time to pull off a last minute book drive (remember to take lots of pictures), and then write up a great little story about that challenge to go with your application. Details about the application process can be found at http://www.english.org/sigmatd/awards/internships/bwb.shtml