The Upsilon Delta Chapter at Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis had been a One Star Chapter for many years. It wasn’t inactive — the chapter consistently offered opportunities to members — but students often faced time constraints that prevented them from taking on larger tasks such as an Honors in Action Project.
This changed in 2017, when nine students attended PTK Catalyst in Nashville. They were inspired by the speakers and by the on-stage recognition of other members. They wanted in, and they set immediate goals: become a Five Star Chapter and be recognized on stage at the next convention.
“The drive back started real conversations,” chapter co-advisor Dr. Joan McGrory said. “As many ideas were discussed, I honestly don’t remember anyone being hesitant to commit. We were all, all in.”
The Five Star Chapter Plan is PTK’s guide for building strong, engaged chapters. Chapters are encouraged to set goals at the beginning of each calendar year to reach a certain level based on the PTK activities and programs in which they participate.
All chapters have a default goal of One Star Level, which is based on basic chapter activities like recruiting members and submitting an annual report to Headquarters. The deadline for chapters to report their progress in the Five Star Chapter Plan for recognition is January 23, 2019. See all levels.
It took a lot of work, but one year later, the Upsilon Delta Chapter was named a Five Star Chapter and had its moment on stage as the officers were recognized as a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team at PTK Catalyst 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.
“Recognition is motivational and fuels the drive for longer-term success,” Joan said. “More importantly, when members achieve recognition, it is earned through the development of skills like planning, organizing, budgeting, and teamwork.
“As a consequence, the recognition is long-lasting and serves as a foundation for reaching further and striving for greater success.”
Recognition wasn’t the only way the chapter and its members benefitted from the Five Star Chapter Plan.
Members Gained Some Serious Skills
Building Honors in Action and College Projects — for levels three and up — required officers to develop some key leadership skills, including budgeting, scheduling, and writing and executing a plan of action. They coordinated research workshops with their college librarians and held a professional development workshop with a focus on journaling.
Officers also beefed up their people skills as they encouraged more members to participate in the projects.
College Leaders Took Notice
The chapter was named the 2018 Club of the Year, officers earned college awards for leadership, and members were recognized for their work in moving the needle on student engagement and success. And, as a result of engagement in the Five Star Chapter Plan, the chapter began working with college administrators on a Commit to Complete pledge.
College administrators knew of the goals the chapter was pursuing, so they made a point to encourage and recognize the students. They even provided snacks and soft drinks during meetings.
“Emails of praise and recognition were common, and accomplishments were recognized and publicized in the college newspaper at the request of our top leaders,” co-advisor Dr. Twyla Waters said. “This praise and recognition were an important step to maintain momentum.”
Awards and Opportunities Overflowed
Upsilon Delta began to see success on the regional level too. The chapter officer team earned its first award — the 2017 Spirit Award — during the Tennessee Regional Honors in Action Conference. The team was also the second place Distinguished Officer Team, and the chapter earned Chapter of Light status for its annual service projects. Advisors received the Horizon Awards, given by the Regional Coordinator to the region’s outstanding advisors.
Members took advantage of their new regional network, organizing a region-wide fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis. Friendships were forged, and ideas for pursuing scholarships and transferring to a university were exchanged.
The then-chapter president, Ronald Morgan, was elected Vice President for the West Tennessee Region. The next chapter president, Joey Brock, was selected to serve as a Social Media Ambassador for PTK Catalyst 2018. Four chapter members earned individual awards for publication in Tennessee Mosaic, the regional literary anthology.
Ready to see what the Five Star Chapter Plan can do for your chapter? Get started today!