Every year, the Beta Alpha Psi Annual Meeting dedicates one day to community service, also known as Community Service Day. Blane Ruschak, Executive Director of Campus Recruiting at KPMG, tells us how the firm has come to sponsor this event and why they have been focusing on the theme of literacy for the past few years.
1. Tell us a little bit about how KPMG came to sponsor Community Service Day at the BAP Annual Meetings and what International Day of Literacy is all about.
Toward the end of the 90s and early 2000s, the President of BAP happened to be a partner from KPMG. Recognizing that one of BAP’s core mission values was service, he decided it was important to designate one day at the BAP Annual Meetings to be Community Service Day. This was a chance for members from different chapters to gather and do a large community service activity together. KPMG has always sponsored and organized the event since.
In recent years, BAP’s Community Service Day has centered around International Day of Literacy. This stemmed from KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL) program that the firm started in 2008, which has since distributed more than 3 million new books to low-income children in more than 90 communities across the United States. Our event organizer, Della Moore, thought it would be fantastic to bring this literacy theme to BAP’s Community Service Day. And so we have for the past 6 years.
BAP’s International Day of Literacy entails BAP members going to underserved schools and communities to talk about the importance of literacy. They read books to young students, get them excited about reading, and give them a book to keep. Since its inception, it has expanded to include literacy learning games such as spelling and word relays.
2. What do you think is the most valuable experience everyone gains from Community Service Day?
At KPMG, one of our core values is giving back to the community, which aligns nicely with BAP’s mission for service. So I think one of the great things to come from this partnership is that the event isn’t just a one hit wonder. We’ve expanded the program now so that we’ll cosponsor any BAP chapter that wants to extend this program to their home town or any other city. We work with them to go to the schools and provide all the books. They simply work with a KPMG recruiter to set up the event. This allows us to not only give back to many communities, but also promote the importance of literacy and getting kids excited about reading.
3. How do you see this literacy program growing or evolving in the future?
We’re thinking about how we can incorporate financial literacy into the mix. Last year, one of the learning exercises we did revolved around math as we taught kids about understanding buying, spending, and budgeting. The exercise went very well and we’re looking forward to implementing different ways to really teach kids about money and finances. For many BAP members who are studying finance or information systems, it’s a great way for them to start utilizing that knowledge and giving the program more of a financial literacy component.
4. Why do you think it’s important for accounting students to join BAP?
Because it’s a chance for students at an extremely early age in their college careers to become better professionals. As a BAP member, you learn how to keep your grades up, attend events with partners from firms, learn how to network, meet recruiters, and become very well rounded both personally and professionally even before you’ve entered the profession and real world.
Students are missing out if they don’t join BAP. KPMG is a large supporter of this organization. It’s something we believe in and commit to because these members are equally committed to it and the profession.
Learn more about the impact of Beta Alpha Psi’s International Day of Literacy in the infographics below!