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Organization Profile: Phi Theta Kappa

By Patricia Villacin
On August 9, 2011

            Members of Richland College's Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, Alpha Alpha Xi, attended the Texas Regional Honors Institute, where they heard from notable guest speakers, participated in group seminars, attended workshops and networked with members from other Phi Theta Kappa chapters.

            The conference was held at Schreiner University in Kerrvile, from July 29-31. Approximately 260 other students from 43 different Phi Theta Kappa chapters across the state attended.

            "I attended the conference because I wanted to meet some new people and gather inspiration to bring back to Richland," said Tabeth Nkangoh, Alpha Alpha Xi leadership co-chair. "The group seminars allowed you to bond with a select group of people from different chapters. Other [members] had very interesting ideas on fundraising and how to run their chapters."

            Phi Theta Kappa is an international honors society with chapters in many countries outside of the United States. The Texas Regional Honors Institute is just one of various student events and educational conferences on state, national and even international levels that members of the organization have the opportunity to attend. According to Alpha Alpha Xi adviser Jon Ewing, Richland's chapter does its best to cover most, if not all, of the travel and conference expenses.

            Aside from traveling opportunities, being a Phi Theta Kappa member has many other benefits. Members are part of an elite organization, with only about 1 to 2 percent of all Richland students being inducted every semester.

            The organization is based on four hallmarks: scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship. The scholarship hallmark calls for members to delve into research on important issues raised by the organization's Honors Study Topic and share their findings with their community. The leadership hallmark gives members the opportunity to assume leadership positions while the service hallmark encourages them to give back to the community through service projects. Lastly, the fellowship hallmark helps foster friendships within the chapter through social and scholarly events.

            "Phi Theta Kappa's four hallmarks help to promote socially responsible intellectual and community leaders," Ewing said.  "Some of the ways membership in our society benefits students are through [the] availability of scholarships at four year universities [and the] promotion of camaraderie and networking among students nationally and internationally."

             Alpha Alpha Xi is one of the largest Phi Theta Kappa chapters in the state of Texas, with 200-300 inductees every semester. Advisers send out invitations for membership to all students with a GPA of at least 3.5, with a minimum of 12 hours of course work.

            Only 10 to 15 percent of these new inductees, however, will be listed as "very active members" who attend the chapter's bimonthly meetings and participate in campus activities and service work. According to Ewing, active participation is essential to getting the full, unique Phi Theta Kappa experience.

             "Many members develop life-long friendships by attending our chapter activities and participating in service projects," Ewing said. "Another way that students benefit is via the contacts they make with members of the community outside of Phi Theta Kappa. Through such interaction, student members are able to hone their particular leadership and communication skills to better prepare themselves for entering the field of higher academia as well as the workplace."








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