Guest Blogger: Santiago Villarreal, PTK President, Alpha Omicron Rho Chapter
As 2016 wound down, Oakland Community College (OCC) student leaders across the College remained busy! Each year, as part of their chapter requirements, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society students participate in a year-long “Honors in Action” (HIA) project, due at the end of January.
“How the World Works” – PTK’s national topic for this academic year
Each year, PTK’s national office selects a topic and includes eight different themes and related rubrics in its annual guide for chapters across the country to select their project focus. Once a chapter selects a theme, they conduct scholarly research to determine a community problem to address and then, during the year, work on implementing an action plan through service, presentations and leadership actions.
This year, OCC’s Auburn Hills PTK chapter, Alpha Omicron Rho, project theme is focused on “Rights and Responsibilities.” Several steps were identified in the rubric beginning with investigation and research of the theme and topic, followed by project planning and strategy, plan implementation, and a reflection on accomplishments.
Our chapter concentrated on community college students “rights and responsibilities” leading community efforts in promoting and supporting pathways to college for K-12 students, especially those in low income areas. The project began by researching education systems in the U.S. and around the world. After completing the research, we concluded that there is tremendous lack of support for education in low income areas.
Next, we contacted our community. We reached out to Pontiac Middle School to discuss the HIA project and brainstorm ideas with the school principal to see what we could do to help students. During our meeting, we decided the best way to help them was to mentor their students and also provide classrooms with much needed school supplies through an “adopt a classroom” type of promotion.
Our chapter continues to work with the school principal to develop our mentorship process and guidelines and secure a list of needed school supplies for students. We also plan to work with the students in the Pontiac Early Technical College program at OCC to develop a similar relationship and program. We are excited to put our projects into action this semester, help the community and hopefully encourage young students to go to college.
We also want to give special thanks to OCC Auburn Hills Campus Dean Lori Przymusinski for establishing contact with Pontiac schools and to our Contact Advisor Jessica Lizardi and Faculty Advisor Jeff Farrah for their assistance overseeing our research and providing support and mentorship to us through the process.
We look forward to implementing our project in the coming year. Stay tuned for more updates on our work!