Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Lionel Barzon III, Officer of Membership of the Sigma Lambda Chapter at Calhoun Community College in Alabama.
At the start of the fall 2016 semester, our Sigma Lambda Chapter advisors and key officers decided to organize and execute a campus-wide PTK Awareness Week that started on Monday, September 12, and ran for four consecutive days through Thursday, September 15.
During the weeks leading up to this campaign, several key steps were taken to ensure the most effective deployment of resources our chapter possessed. The result was that we inducted more members in a single week than we did in the entire month of September last year.
Our chapter advisors and key officers proposed to Headquarters the idea of a $10 discount on the membership fee — $80 discounted to $70 — and we were allowed to do so. When talking to prospective members at our information booth, we actively mentioned how the Awareness Week was the only week for this semester to take advantage of a discounted membership price. (Note: the chapter cut $10 from it’s portion of the membership fee, meaning it received $5 in local fees rather than the $15 it usually receives.)
Our chapter designed and purchased specialized PTK shirts that were handed out a week in advance to all willing teachers, faculty and staff members at Calhoun Community College to wear on one of the four campaign days to their respective classes. Also included with the shirts were specially designed information postcards explaining the key benefits of PTK and how to properly check and accept membership via the student’s school email account.
Specialized PTK stickers were added into the materials given out for those teachers that could not get a shirt delivered to them in time. Each faculty and staff member was then divided into four divisions and assigned a specific day for wearing their PTK attire and promoting their materials.
Teachers were instructed to hand out their information postcards at the beginning of each class for their selected day and to give a brief pitch of what Phi Theta Kappa was and the benefits of joining.
Here at Calhoun Community College, our students use Blackboard to access their classes content and material online. All students must first log in to their account before accessing their classes on Blackboard. We took advantage of this by putting a special reminder on the top of the login page:
“Attention ALL STUDENTS who currently have 12+ non-remedial credit hours with a 3.5+ GPA: please make sure to actively check your Calhoun student email for an exclusive membership invitation into Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. This prestigious society is well known for having its members receive unique scholarships that go toward Calhoun Community College and four-year institutes around the nation. Phi Theta Kappa members are also known to be campus leaders, serve their communities and collect real-world experience — ALL attributes employers want! Don’t pass on this unique opportunity to enhance your college career path, and make sure to check your student emails today!”
This reminder on Blackboard was ran the week before and the week during the campaign.
Active Information Booth
During our Awareness Week, our chapter ran a PTK information booth on both of our campuses. This information booth was used to answer prospective members’ questions on how to join and when our meetings were held. This information booth also served as a way to draw curious students who had seen their teacher wearing the PTK shirt while giving out PTK info postcards.
We were able to reinforce our presence greatly through this method. We staffed our info booth from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. all four days, with the addition of 5-7 p.m. on two of the days.
At the conclusion of our chapter’s first-ever Awareness Week, the results were very positive. The primary purpose of this Awareness Week campaign was to recruit new members in higher volumes than usual to our Sigma Lambda Chapter while also increasing name identification of Phi Theta Kappa here at Calhoun Community College.
Year-to-year analytics of September 12-15, 2015, compared to September 12-15, 2016, showed a nine-fold increase in membership acceptance, with 29 new students accepting membership in 2016 compared to just three students accepting membership the same week in 2015.
Retention and growth of these new members, along with our existing ones, is now the current and ongoing phase of development our chapter is performing via chapter advisors and chapter officers. Based on these promising results, our chapter is planning on running another PTK Awareness Week in the early spring 2017 semester to capture new members who have membership invitations from Headquarters sent to their student email accounts.
The momentum created by this fall 2016 Awareness week on our campus was strong and profound, which will aid greatly in our spring 2017 Awareness Week campaign.