Number CLIV The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi January 2021

What my ESP Membership Means to Me
Peggy Compton, National ESP President

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, it’s that time of year when we think about faith, friends, family AND (hopefully) our ESP membership! Have you renewed your membership, yet? I sure hope you have! If not, what are you waiting for? In a year of uncertainty, I am certain that your ESP membership is a good investment! I know this because I heard it from our members during the 2020 ESP National Conference.

During the conference networking session, attendees were asked to share, “the single greatest benefit” of their ESP membership. Responses fell into four broad categories, starting with “the people.” ESP members value networking, making connections with annual and life members, meeting new people, and creating lasting friendships. Professional Development is also a highly valued benefit of ESP membership, including opportunities for learning and sharing that reach across program areas and focus on individual development instead of specific programming content, learning about cultural differences through the affinity group, and participating in national conferences. A third category of benefits centered around leadership opportunities and involvement at the chapter and national level, and finally, awards, scholarships and grants were also noted as a valued benefit of ESP membership.

My ESP membership has certainly been an important part of my personal and professional journey over the past 15 years. I’ve summed up some of the highlights in this 60 second video:

I hope you, too, have realized many benefits of your ESP membership. If not, what can we do together to increase the value of your ESP membership?


2021 Conference Presentations - Call for Proposals

The 2021 National Conference Call for Proposals as been released. Presentation proposals are due March 8, 2021

    • Concurrent Session Seminars
    • Ignite Presentations
    • Research Presentations
    • Poster Presentations

Visit the 2021 Conference Website for more information. 

Recruiting New ESP Members During a Time of Being Apart
Lorie Dye, Chair, National Membership, Recruitment and Retention Committee

Recruiting members during an in-person annual conference is easier to do because we build on our personal energy and enthusiasm for ESP and its professional development opportunities. But, when we cannot gather, extending an invitation to join ESP is more challenging. Below are some successful ideas to extend ESP membership opportunities to our colleagues.

1. Do the ask! The reason I joined is because a colleague asked me if I would like to join. I attended the banquet at our Extension annual conference, learned of the great opportunities I was missing and joined that evening. If you have a state conference this year, invite them to the meeting. Then you can answer questions and share experiences.

2. Send a gift basket of ESP recruitment materials and some treats to new extension educators. Follow it up with an email, text or phone call to explain membership in ESP. Don’t forget to contact people who now may have a different job and ESP membership fits their program.

3. Mentor a new ESP member for 2021 to share ESP information and highlight professional development opportunities.

4. If your state sends out an ESP newsletter, include a short piece about ESP and benefits of being a member. Highlight an ESP member in your newsletter and include why they became a member.

5. Offer a chapter webinar to explain membership, have current members explain how they have benefitted from joining ESP. There is a wealth of information in your own state.

6. Hold quarterly meetings online. We are all getting very good at Zoom!

7. Create a chapter Facebook group.

8. Have a competition in your chapter to see who can extend an invitation to become an ESP member to colleagues they know during a specified period. The invitation can be virtual, email, phone or any method they choose. Award a small gift to the person who made the most contacts or recruited the most people to apply.

9. Offer an envelope opening event between potential new members and the membership committee. Ask them to wait to open the envelope until a certain date and time. Open the envelope containing a small gift and ESP information during a zoom meeting at the same time. Answer any questions they have about joining.


New Marketing Video is Ready! Please Share Far and Wide.
Karen Sergent, Tennessee Omega Chapter; National Marketing Committee

Membership in ESP is wonderful in so many ways. If any of you have attempted the elevator pitch challenge at the National Conference, you can appreciate how difficult it is to pin your response down to just a minute of reasons why you love this organization. This video is our attempt to give visual expression to just a few of the many reasons you've given for why you are a member. Please share the video far and wide! Here are a few ideas:

  • Tag your Extension friends (who are not already members) as a way of inviting them to join us. Attach this link to the new-membership page that you can share alongside the video:
  • Tag your local Extension Office and brag on Extension professionals in your community and invite people to volunteer or get involved.
  • Embed the link to this video on your own state ESP chapter website.
  • In all of your posts consider using the following hashtags as well: #espnational #EpsilonSigmaPhi #CoopExt #ESP

Thanks to everyone that submitted photos and stories! We have plans to use them in additional marketing pieces in the near future.

You can find the video on our YouTube channel 


Call for ESP Webinar Proposals
Jeannette Rea Keywood, Professional Development Committee Chair

The ESP Professional Development Committee is seeking webinar proposals that will assist Extension educators with programming focusing on emerging issues and/or reaching new audiences. These webinars will be offered in Spring and Summer 2021.

The lead presenter of the webinar must be an active ESP member. Proposals may be a presentation, panel discussion or other methodology appropriate for a webinar. Topics could include but are not limited to innovative program ideas, management techniques, community issues, new technology or tools, and methods to reach diverse audiences. All proposals will go through a blind review process.

The Webinar Proposal Submission Deadline is February 5, 2021. Lead presenters will be notified by March 19, 2021. Dates and times for webinars will be scheduled directly with presenters once webinar proposals are selected. Webinars must be a maximum of 60 minutes.

For more information regarding the call for webinar proposal requirements and to submit a proposal visit the National ESP Call for Webinar Proposals

If you have questions, please contact Jeannette Rea Keywood, ESP Professional Development Committee Chair by phone (609-827-0199) or email (


Globalizing Extension Innovation Network (GEIN)
Christy Fitzpatrick, Member, Global Relations Committee 

Best Wishes for 2021! We plan to provide information in each newsletter about global engagement that you can share to increase interest in international activities. There has never been a more important time to engage in international work. Climate change and the pandemic result in millions hungry, displaced, and unemployed. Extension programs can give people both locally and globally tools they can use to rebuild lives and communities.

This month we are introducing a new national initiative, the Globalizing Extension Innovation Network (GEIN). The network plans to “become a go to source for Extension Educators looking for new opportunities or ways to add a global experience or two into their career development. The intent is to build the professional capacity of our colleagues through sharing experiences and bridging across program areas, geographic locations and generations of Extension professionals to make a global impact much like the impact we make within our respective state and national program efforts.”

To join, set up an account on Connect Extension and then contact John R. Vreyens, Director, Global Initiatives, UMN Extension at to request an invitation or to ask any questions.

Once signed in, explore content such as a podcast outlining group vision and goals at, information about the Women and Gender in Development Virtual Conference and virtual Extension opportunities in Trinidad and Tobago through Purdue University and the Farmer to Farmer program.

ESP members are especially invited to join this robust network of learning and opportunity!


National ESP Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences Affinity Group
Karen Sergent, Tennessee / Omega Chapter

The National ESP Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences (UCDA) Affinity Group provides you with a space to connect and gain support from other Extension professionals working to support urban and culturally diverse communities. The group is open to all ESP members and serves to provide a variety of support and professional development opportunities that advocate, promote, educate, advance, recognize and support you in your efforts related to diversity, equity, inclusion and engagement of urban and culturally diverse audiences.

Walking through a pandemic and jumping into the future of unknowns create opportunities to grow in many ways. The UCDA Affinity Group would like to meet you in this new normal with an opportunity to shape future opportunities available to us throughout 2021. Whether you are looking for a place to learn and share ideas, are interested in targeted messages on specific topics or are unsure of where to even start when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion matters – we want to hear from you. Please take our brief assessment linked below so that we can schedule opportunities to best support each other. And join us the second Tuesday of each month at 12:30 PM ET/ 9:30 AM PT.

Please take this survey to help us plan for 2021opportunities:

Please join us the second Tuesday of each month at 12:30 PM ET/ 9:30 AM PT All are welcome.


ESP Gives Back to Members and Chapters!

National Resource Development and Management Committee

Have you looked at the 2020 Development Fund Annual Report on the national website? First, it is interesting to note that during the 2020 Development Fund Campaign Year (June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020) 252 individual donations were made by members, chapters, and a foundation totaling $31,760.70. The total donations to the restricted endowed part of the Development Fund reached $515,760.70 this year, passing a goal set many years ago. Income from this investment covers many member and chapter support programs each year.

Second, during this same time period, ESP gave back $36,949 to members and chapters!! These reimbursements were for many items – voting delegate, national committee member, JCEP Workshop attendance, scholarship awards, concurrent poster presenter, professional development grants, and life member rebates. These reimbursements helped in travel to conferences to participate in duties and to support professional development activities.

What did your state give and receive? You can see the data on state (chapter and member) giving and reimbursements on the National ESP website at:

Or, go to, then to “Development”, and then open “2020 Campaign Report” and scroll down to ESP Endowment Contributions by Chapter and the Reimbursement to Chapters (as of May 30, 2020). See the reimbursement and donation totals for 2020. The cumulative totals contributed and reimbursed from 2001 to 2020 are included on the right side of the report.

While scrolling down the Annual Report, please look at the Endowment Contributors by Level - 2020. Those giving $250 or more are recognized here for their donations. Are you listed? Also, see the states and names of 2020 donors in Epsilon Sigma Phi Development Fund Contributors 2020 Annual Campaign.

We appreciate your support and participation in Epsilon Sigma Phi.


The ESP Development Fund Supports Many Opportunities
Resource Development and Management Committee

The following programs are supported by the Development Fund annually:

• 4- $600 PILD Scholarships - $2400

• 2- $1,000 Redinger Administrator/Leader Scholarships - $2,000

• 4- $1,000 Professional Development Grants - $4,000

• 4- $1,000 Richard R. Angus Professional Development Scholarships - $4,000

• 1- $1250 Rita T. Wood Grant for chapter development

• Varies- Chapter Representative stipends to Extension Leadership Conference - $10,000

• Regional & National Recognition Program

• National Poster Program Recognition

• Support for Conference Workshop Presenters

• Assist ESP Member Participation on Committees and Representation on National Council at National ESP Conferences

• Assist ESP Life Member Participation on Committees and in the National ESP Conferences

Watch the ESP Calendar for application/abstract deadlines and instructions. Take advantage of these opportunities to support and build your program. Details are on the website.


2021 Extension Leadership Conference (ELC)

Registration is currently underway and the Early Bird Deadline is January 22, 2021 for the 2021 Extension Leadership Conference sponsored by JCEP. The conference will be held virtually February 10 - 11, 2021.  See the JCEP website for complete details.

Visit the ESP Extension Leadership Conference Guidelines page to understand the role of ESP and ESP members in this conference.

National Board votes to provide Chapter stipends to support member registration for virtual conference

Change for 2021 Virtual Conference:  One $150 stipend per chapter will be issued to chapters with two or more attending the conference.


This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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