Pi Kappa Phi owns and operates a national philanthropy called The Ability Experience (formally known as Push America).
The Ability Experience is a non-profit organization that was founded by members of Pi Kappa Phi in 1977. It is the exclusive service learning project of the fraternity, aiming to serve people with disabilities and instill lifelong service in all members of Pi Kappa Phi. Initially begun as a project to build therapeutic play units for children with disabilities, the organization has become synonymous with fundraising, service and awareness for people with any type or degree of disability.
Since its conception, the Ability Experience has grown to include a number of different events across the nation. These include the Journey of Hope – a cross country bike ride, and Build America – a program aimed at building facilities for people with physical disabilities. Through these events as well as the work of individual chapters, The Ability Experience has raised more than $8 million in support of people with disabilities.
The Omega chapter is proud of our great involvement in the Ability Experience. Throughout the year we host a number of events aimed at helping people with disabilities. These events include Arctoberfest, David Feltner Memorial Bike-a-Thon, War of Roses, Adult Special Needs Daycare Assistance, Second Chance Pi Kapp/Best Buddy prom, Pi Kapp 100 and Journey of Hope.
Because of its commitment to the Ability Experience, the chapter received the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Star of Hope Award, recognizing it as the top chapter nationally in overall contributions to the national philanthropy.
Arctoberfest is an annual Halloween costume party held for the local Arc of Tippecanoe, an organization that helps people over the age of 18 with emotional, physical or mental disabilities. The event is includes games, snacks and costume competitions.
The annual David R. Feltner Memorial Bike-A-Thon is a 72-hour event held each Homecoming week in memory of David Feltner (1988-2011). The original Bike-A-Thon was held to raise enough money to purchase a special needs dog to assist him with balance and emergency needs. David rode last five minutes of the inaugural event in April 2011. Tragically, David died three months after the first event. Since that time, his parents or members of Feltner’s pledge class ride the last five minutes of the annual event during Homecoming week.
Many sororities on campus also participate in Bike-A-Thon every year, as the event kicks off with a race to see which sorority can pedal the farthest in a set amount of time.
The annual event is held in memory of Feltner (Omega 1738) who died in 2011. Feltner was very involved in the chapter’s Ability Experience programming and was one of the first group to visit with the special needs classes at a local high school. He had hoped to be an Omega representative in the 2010 Journey of Hope, but his cancer treatments prevented that.
Since that time, the chapter has conducted the annual event in his name raising money and awareness for people with disabilities in partnership with The Ability Experience. Typically, chapter members 72 straight hours leading up to the annual homecoming football game.
In the Fall 2022, the chapter will have its Bike-a-Thon the days leading up to its 100th anniversary celebration on Oct. 29.
War of Roses
The annual War of Roses events include empathy training, disabilities races and the capstone event, a talent show in Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse. Most of the Purdue sororities participate alongside chapter members each spring.
Pi Kappa Phi crowned its 2022 Rose Queen at the conclusion of the annual War of Roses competition on Feb. 25 – Kassie Orander from Sigma Kappa.
The Annual War of Roses competition started with a dodgeball competition on Feb. 19, followed by a Best Buddies/Arc of Tippecanoe games night. Then on Feb. 23 was trivia competition and the Feb. 25 talent show. Competitors earn points toward the championship from participation in the various events, t-shirt and ticket sales, fund-raising and sheet sign competition.
Pi Kappa Phi would like to thank all the sororities that participated over the three-week event! Participants included:
The chapter wishes to extend its congratulations and most sincere thanks to the participating campus organizations in 2022:
Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Delta, Maclure, Phi Mu, Phi Rho, Shoemaker and Sigma Kappa.
Pi Kappa Phi-Omega maintains and active relationship with the adult special needs care with a local non-profit agency. The chapter sends brothers regularly to play games and help tutor local kids with emotional, physical or cognitive disabilities.
Second Chance Pi Kapp/Best Buddies Prom
Each spring, chapter members team up with Best Buddies-Purdue to host special needs adults who did not get the opportunity to attend a high school prom.
Pi Kapp 100
Established in 1999, each spring chapter members ride 100 kilometers from Zionsville to the Purdue campus raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities. More than two dozen riders participate each year. Riders have included alumni and one mom thus far. Each rider and crew member commit to raising a certain amount of money for the chapter’s annual Ability Experience fund-raising.
Journey of Hope
The Journey of Hope is a cross country bike ride to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities. JOH is undertaken by Pi Kapps from chapters across the nation, with Omega as one of the leading participants. In each of the last three years, the chapter has had 10 or more JOH team members, the first such accomplishment in history. The chapter’s first rider was in 1991 – Brian Carlson. The Purdue chapter will have had 87 participants in the summer-long event including three in 2022 – Chris Augustinovicz, Matthew Keogh and Wayne Morrow.
Similar to the Journey of Hope, a month-long shorter Gear Up Florida event established in 1997, occurs each May. The chapter has sent 13 members on this ride throughout the state. In 2022, Andrew Davis, Andrew Eichmeier and Tyler Wagner will participate.