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Floral philanthropy: Phi Mu fundraises for kids' health

By Mekenna Sandstrom
On February 14, 2014

This Valentine's Day, Miami University's chapter of Phi Mu sorority is encouraging students, staff and community members to spread the love outside the Oxford bubble through "Carnations for Kids," an event benefiting the Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Members of the sorority will be in the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) Friday afternoon, giving carnations to those who donate $1 or more to Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

As an organization, Phi Mu is a corporate sponsor of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMNH). CMNH comprises of 170 hospitals nationwide, including Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Since 1986, Phi Mu has raised more than $8.5 million.

The carnation is Phi Mu's national flower.

This is the first time the chapter has held Carnations for Kids at Miami University, and Phi Mu president Katie Martin said she is ecstatic.

"We wanted to do more than our annual Puddle Pull this year," Martin explained. "This is different, and we're excited."

In the spring, Phi Mu and Delta Upsilon host an annual "Puddle Pull" event for Greek organizations on Miami's campus. Puddle Pull is a tug-of-war game, where each side tries to pull the flag to their side of a dividing line within two minutes. When the flag has reached one side, the team on that side is declared the winner.

Despite the fact this is the first time Phi Mu is holding such as an event like Carnations for Kids, Martin said she is confident the event will do well. The chapter has already had some early customers contributing to the cause.

"We had about three fraternities already order in bulk," Martin said.

According to philanthropy chair Kristen Castello, Phi Mu purchased a total of 350 carnations for the event, but 250 of them have already been sold to the fraternities.

"Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE), Chi Psi, and Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) all purchased a bulk order," Castello said in an email interview. "Just from these fraternities we have already raised $255."

In the last year, Phi Mu has contributed over $1,200 for the hospital from their past philanthropy events, such as Puddle Pull and "Finals with the Phi's".

Finals with the Phi's is hosted before the end of the semester, when members sell cookies and hot chocolate outside King Library.

The sorority also recently put together gift bags for girls at the hospital during recruitment. Whether they were patients or guests in the waiting room, the gift bags included nail polish and nail files for them.

"The hospital told us they were in need of something like that," Jenna Pilipovich, last year's philanthropy chair said. "We're taking the bags down to them this Saturday."

Carnations for Kids will be held 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday at the Armstrong Student Center.

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