The History of the Palm Springs-Desert Cities, California, Alumnae Club
The Palm Springs-Desert Cities, California, Alumnae Club was chartered shortly before the 57th Biennial Convention in San Diego. California Gamma Helena Dingle Moore was the club’s first President. Shortly after that, Pi Phi selected Palm Springs as the location for the 60th Biennial Convention held June 24–20, 1995 at Marriott’s Desert Springs Resort in Palm Desert. Washington Alpha Denise Millett Highsmith, Washington Alpha Judith Remaly Clark, Illinois Zeta Carolyn Zipprodt Long and Oklahoma Alpha Margy Wardell Dulin attended the 1993 Convention in Orlando, Florida, and accepted the invitation to host the 1995 Convention. The club was still relatively small at the time convention planning commenced. The next two years were spent developing plans for the event. Most of the committee chairmen were from the club’s own membership, but there was tremendous support from Pi Phis all over Southern California, in addition to support from Pi Phi Headquarters.
The club is unique in that many members are “snowbirds,” as they come to the desert during the fall season through the spring to enjoy the beautiful warm sunshine. They return to their homes in cooler climates in the spring and summer, and many of them belong to Pi Phi Alumnae Clubs in their hometowns.
The club has evolved over the years. Major growth occurred in the early to mid-1990s as the club planned for convention and reached out to area alumnae to support the event. After convention, the club thrived. In addition to attending regular formal meetings, members were also active in many interest groups such as bridge and hiking.
At this time, the club is a Friendship Tier Club. This is due almost entirely to the fact that the club’s average age is around 80. Most of the club’s founding members have passed away or moved, but some are still active in the Palm Springs-Desert Cities, California, Alumnae Club today.
The club’s major philanthropic efforts for the past 27 years have been in the areas of food sharing and literacy. The club has supported Hidden Harvest, one of the largest agricultural organizations in the United States. Several of the club’s members have served on the organization’s board, and the club has always supported the group through time, talent, and treasure.
Members have supported literacy efforts at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Indio, California, one of the poorest schools per federal designation in the area. Members read to first and third grade students, and also provide monetary support.
The Palm Springs-Desert Cities, California, Alumnae Club is also a proud member of the Coachella Valley Alumnae Panhellenic; the club supports this organization’s college scholarship efforts annually.
Awards and Club Recognition
- Alumnae Region Six Spirit Award (2011)
- Excellence in Communication (2011, 2012)
- Superior Club (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
- Traditional Club (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016)
Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award