How to Bring Honors Institute to Your Chapter

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Michael Onuchovsky, a member of the Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter at Valencia College in Florida and a 2017 Honors Institute Social Media Intern.

Attending Honors Institute is a tremendous opportunity. This is our time to grow personally and develop into scholars while surrounded by like-minded individuals in a close setting.

At Loyola University in Chicago, we networked with scholars from community colleges all over the world. We learned from experienced Phi Theta Kappans about Honors in Action and College Projects and gained insight on what knowledge, ideas, or methods we could bring back to our chapters to increase the impact of our endeavors over the next year.

The diverse group of advisors, keynote speakers, and alumni at Honors Institute brought monumental opportunities for our personal and intellectual development. But what’s next? How can we apply this to our lives and back to our chapters?

With networking comes great opportunities for collaboration, whether it’s through our Phi Theta Kappa chapters or personal endeavors. Honors Institute provided us the chance to meet many brilliant and accomplished individuals, so how do we take advantage of it?

“We can build better relationships with other chapters,” said Nicole Karam, co-president of the Omega Phi Chapter at Broward College’s North Campus in Florida. “We can include them in our chapter’s Honors in Action Project through fundraising, service, and fellowship events.”

Educational forums enlightened us about the Honors in Action and College Projects, running for international office, regional officer training, leadership, “Action, Awareness, and Advocacy,” developing regional honors experience, and Five Star Competitive Edge. They focused on specific principles and processes for participating in Phi Theta Kappa programs.

You can present everything you learned in the forums to your chapter, explaining how it can be applied it to your chapter. Make a slide show based on what you learned. Consider hosting workshops that replicate the ones you attended at Honors Institute. The endless hunger for knowledge is what drives Phi Theta Kappans, so feed your members!

I plan to host several different presentations and form committees based on the educational forum and keynote topics from Honors Institute. In addition, I spoke to my Regional Coordinator about leading workshops on running for International Office and on leadership at our upcoming regional conferences.

Nick Gorman, president of the Alpha Epsilon Omicron Chapter at Trident Technical College in South Carolina, assigned his fellow chapter officers to different sessions so they could learn as much about as many topics as possible.

“I’m trying to take back a variety of topics for our officers to teach chapter members,” he said. “It will set the tone for the next year by giving our officers a better idea of how to lead and which direction to pursue.”

The educational forums, keynote speaker presentations, and excursions, which illuminated the culture and history of Chicago, inspired members to overcome adversity and illustrated the beauty of how the world works through the global perspectives of vast diversity. How does this relate to our chapter endeavors throughout the year?

One way is through the obstacles we face during Honors in Action Projects. We will all face challenges during the year, so use the knowledge and inspiration you received from keynote speakers to push through.

Honors Institute’s keynote speakers can also change the way you look at the world, opening your eyes to opportunities you might never have noticed before. You’ll be inspired to think globally and act locally.

“We can bring home information about how we can shape our community for the better,” Nicole said.

Most importantly, when attending Phi Theta Kappa conferences, you develop a passion for PTK — that is the most amazing takeaway. When we go back to our chapters, our passion for PTK radiates to the other members. By sharing this passion with your chapter membership, you will see your projects have a greater impact on your college and community.

We were given a frame with no picture at Honors Institute. We now know what it takes to achieve the Hallmarks, but we can’t act alone. It is our responsibility to share our frame with our chapters and begin filling in the picture together.

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