PTK Accelerate Drives

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
PTK Students Toy Drive Image

From left: Amanda Christenhusz, Yvonne Wedding, and Matthew Lewis shop at Toys"R"Us in December; Alpha Pi Gamma donated $681 in toys to the Marines' Toys for Tots.

Alpha Pi Gamma, the official chapter of honor society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) at Truckee Meadows Community College, has a rocking “can do” attitude, especially in the society’s philosophical pillars of leadership and service.

Many volunteer events and charitable drives during Fall Semester and across the holiday season showed a high level of teamwork among Alpha Pi Gamma officers and members.

“Working with the club has left such an indelible mark on me,” said Crysel Medrano-Covarrubias, Alpha Pi Gamma Secretary. “It’s truly one of the most collaborative efforts that I’ve ever had the joy of participating in.”

Coat Drive

During the fall season, the chapter held a coat drive to help those in need as the weather cooled, before winter hit the region in a big way.

“We started collecting clothes on Oct. 11 until Dec. 15,” said Yvonne Wedding, Alpha Pi Gamma Treasurer. “I know a few of us from PTK had things we collected from people we knew and brought them to the school. A lot of people came together to get all that we did.”

Community members chipped in.

“There was a lady who crocheted beanies just for our cause, they were very well made too,” Wedding added.

A chapter member purchased packages of new socks and separated the bundles in order to benefit multiple recipients.

“The coat drive was a complete success—students and faculty came together to give back to our community—we had donations flooding in,” Wedding said. “We set up a table during the Wellness Fair to distribute coats and other winter clothing, and there were dozens of items taken that day.”

The coat drive continued through the semester.

“For the remainder of the semester, students came to the PTK closet to pick up what they needed—they all left with a smile on their faces and we left with warmth in our hearts,” she added. “What was left over at the end of the semester was donated to TMCC’s DISCO office so they can distribute the clothes to other Northern Nevada citizens. The turnout was so great that we plan on doing another coat drive next year.”

DISCO is the Diversity and International Student Center and Office, located on the Dandini Campus in the Red Mountain Building, room 114.

Scholarship Workshops

Alpha Pi Gamma members held two Fall Semester scholarship workshops to assist TMCC students in writing their applications and essays. Their aim is to help students find more ways to better afford college. Chapter Vice President Amanda Christenhusz led the scholarship workshop project.

“The Scholarship Workshop was amazing,” Christenhusz said. “It felt good being able to help fellow Truckee Meadows’ students receive some much-deserved information about how to earn scholarships.”

TMCC alumna Sheila Burson was the featured presenter for both of the workshops. She received about $30,000 a year in scholarships to go to school, including an award from the international Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“The information she provided was very clear and concise with tons of colorful information on where to look and how to go about writing our essays,” Christenhusz added. “It definitely helped me to know where to go from here, and now I’m being considered for a transfer scholarship through the Phi Theta Kappa organization.”

Matching Food Drive Donations from Save Mart

Alpha Pi Gamma donated $500 to the Food Bank of Northern Nevada (FBNN), and secured a one-for-one match from Save Mart Supermarkets. The doubled $1,000 total will benefit more than 200 individuals who live in the region.

Medrano said that it’s a fun and interesting story of how the matching grant came to be, one that illustrates the commitment and go-getting spirit of chapter members.

“Most of our events, especially if they have some monetary component, take at least three club meetings to materialize,” she said. “We had thought to set aside some of our club funding for Save Mart at least a month-and-a-half before our last meeting for the semester. Only four members and our advisor had been able to attend to that—most of us were all the worse for wear and truly ragged in anticipation of finals.”

Then the light bulb shined.

“We pooled together to recall that specific pending item from several agendas ago—one of the four members was kind enough to call Save Mart in order to find out when the donation match was taking place,” Medrano said. “It wasn’t until that very minute that we came to the information it was that very day.”

She said that they immediately voted and left for Save Mart to finalize the donation match.

“I’m grateful to be able to be part of this team,” she added. “Being able to carry the flag when one member is unable to, being assured and comforted by the fact that someone would do the same for me without expectation of reciprocity, has really been a highlight of this semester for me—exponentially so when I’m able to see members contribute, and witness things such as the Save Mart food donation project come to fruition.”

The 2017 Henry Sosnowski Do the Right Thing Award

In addition to the food drive, at that meeting they also created a new award in the name of a TMCC faculty member who was beaten last year while trying to stop a tagger damaging property in downtown Reno.

Alpha Pi Gamma awarded the first of its kind “2017 Henry Sosnowski Do the Right Thing” award of $300 to James Howard, a TMCC student who has organized and is a driving force powering a large, supportive study group in the Elizabeth Sturm Library.

Additional Volunteer Efforts

“TMCC’s PTK chapter purchased $681 worth of toys at Toys“R”Us for the U.S. Marines’ Toys for Tots program,” said Neil Siegel, Alpha Pi Gamma chapter advisor.

The chapter also sponsored an essay competition as part of the Local Authority Climate Panel Forum that addressed the topic of how a four-degree temperature change would affect the Reno-Sparks and Tahoe region. The forum took place at TMCC on Nov. 2.

For information about PTK, please call 775-674-7608.