Could your induction ceremony use a pick-me-up? Follow the Alpha Omicron Kappa Chapter’s lead by pairing it with a fundraiser, and watch the excitement of your members and awareness of your chapter take off.
Advisor Keith Pawlovich had an eye-opening moment at NerdNation 2015 in San Antonio when he heard in an Educational Forum that induction ceremonies don’t have to be formal events. Then, during the Michigan Regional Meeting that followed, he heard about a swing dance fundraiser another chapter had conducted.
When his chapter president, Daniel Ragan, turned out to be a member of a swing dance troupe, an idea began to take shape. They could induct members and hold a fundraiser for Michigan veterans in one big evening.
“We felt it was a real opportunity to make our induction ceremony more epic,” Pawlovich said.
The chapter at Oakland Community College’s Highland Lakes Campus in Michigan first partnered with their sister chapter, the Alpha Omicron Xi Chapter at their Orchard Ridge campus, to hold a joint induction ceremony dinner for the 40-plus new members. The lineup of speakers was carefully coordinated.
Cindy Carbone, a former member of the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors and current Academic Dean at Oakland, spoke first about the purpose and benefits of Phi Theta Kappa membership.
Graeme Harper, the Honors College Dean at Oakland University, followed and spoke about the opportunities available to Phi Theta Kappa members upon their transfer.
Then, Jim Runestad, a representative in the Michigan Legislature and a strong advocate for veterans, spoke to the students about their responsibilities in taking active roles in America’s future as some of the best and brightest. Some inductees also received Congressional tributes as well.
Lynn Phillips, the Executive Director of the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund in Michigan, gave closing remarks. Then, tables were moved, the college’s swing band set up and the doors opened to the community. More than 140 attended the Swing Dance and Concert and nearly $2,000 was raised for the Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund.
“It was a real opportunity to introduce our new inductees to Phi Theta Kappa and show the importance of what the organization does right there at the beginning,” Pawlovich said. “We would never have thought of doing this if we hadn’t attended NerdNation in San Antonio.”
Feedback from the event has been pouring in, and it’s all been positive. Faculty and staff at Oakland are looking forward to the event next year. Community businesses and organizations have told the chapter they will donate to the event moving forward. It’s even inspired Pawlovich to make the fall induction ceremony just as big — he’s thinking a Halloween-inspired Masquerade Ball on the Orchard Ridge campus.
“We’re at one of the smallest campuses at our college, so it really has increased awareness of our chapter,” he said. “Our chancellor was very complimentary. Our state representative knows who we are. Oakland University knows who we are. Community members gave money and in-kind donations for a silent auction.
“Our chapter recognition has grown exponentially, and our officers couldn’t be prouder.”