Awards for Phi Theta Kappa and what this means for their chapter

Published by Katie Gray on

Jesika Barnes proudly shows off her PTK and ASUCC pins while on campus.
Photo provided by Jesika Barnes

Awards for Phi Theta Kappa and what this means for their chapter

UCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter Alpha Sigma Upsilon received two Hallmark awards at their annual Catalyst convention: Top 100 Chapter and Distinguished College Project Award as well as recognition as a five-star chapter, the highest level of chapter success.

“It was a very emotional time for all of us. We were not expecting it at all, and we all cried,” Faith Byars, a 5-star officer said. The Catalyst conference was held over Zoom, so UCC’s PTK chapter advisor Marjan Coester, officer Faith Byars and chapter president Jesika Barnes dressed up and watched the award ceremony together.

At Catalyst, where all 1,275 Phi Theta Kappa chapters come together annually for training and recognition, UCC’s PTK chapter was internationally recognized for completing a level of achievement necessary for a 5-star chapter due to their entries for individual awards as well as their college project and their Honors in Action project.

Jesika Barnes is proudly showing off her PTK regional officer medal.
Photo provided by Jesika Barnes

The Rocky Mountain Cascade regional team (which UCC belongs to) was also recognized as a prestigious 4-star region with a Regional Award for Excellence in Fellowship. Jesika Barnes is the Rocky Mountain Cascade vice president of communications and UCC’s chapter president as well as UCC’s ASUCC president.

Stars can be earned by how active a chapter is within PTK. The star recognition is based off the level of achievement in recruitment, being involved on a regional level, college project development, relationships with the school, and a special Honors in Action project with an international component.

Their college project was creating a Danna-May Blommer Memorial Scholarship Endowment for UCC’s former career coach Danna-May Blommer who died suddenly in fall 2020. Barnes said that the PTK annual college project is really beneficial both for PTK and UCC because it shows the school how important PTK really is. PTK members actually can do great things for the college, like coming up with scholarships. It’s a mutual benefit.

Blommer worked in UCC’s student center, and her death affected the PTK students as well as other UCC students because she was such an encouragement and help to them.

“She suddenly passed, and we were all rocked emotionally,” Barnes said.

After the announcement went out from the college about Blommer’s death, a suggestion was made to create a scholarship in Blommer’s name, and PTK came together to make that happen. PTK partnered with the UCC Foundation and the UCC marketing team, Chase Gilley, Art Lucero and Tiffany Coleman, to get the word out. Then, on Tuesday, Dec. 1, known nationally as Giving Tuesday, PTK spent 12 hours on Facebook Live trying to get community donations for the scholarship in a drive that included opportunities for people in the community to talk about Blommer.

Their goal was $15,000 to secure the endowment and an additional $2,000 for a $500 scholarship to run for the next four years until the endowment reaches sustainability.

On their first day of their drive, the UCC PTK chapter made $7,595, and ASUCC matched with $5,000, so they made 84% of their total on their first day. Their goal had been to just make $5,000 in order to get the $5,000 match from ASUCC. This is one of the most involved fundraisers UCC has had where 51 donors donated. People can still donate today.

UCC’s PTK chapter’s 5-star achievement also happened because of their Honors in Action project which is about life and death and is to be completed at the end of 2021. The chapter submitted enough work and information about their Blommer project and this HIA project, that they won the distinguished college award as well as the 5-star achievement. The officers say to stay tuned. “Stay tuned for a super cool project,” Jesika Barnes said.

PTK is still looking for members. PTK is an honor society developing skills for members in leadership as well as personal skills, Barnes says. Members must have a 3.5 or higher GPA. “We are hoping that the recognition of being a top 100 chapter will encourage others to join for next year because most of our officers will be graduating. One of the best things about PTK is that you can be as active as you want to be and still reap all of the benefits of membership. Being a participating member of PTK is just an extra,” Byars said. “I wish I would have become more active earlier. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, and it was really fun. The projects were really interesting, and I learned a lot.”

To join, contact Jesika Barnes for more information.

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