The most valuable endeavor the past year.

While serving as a senator on the Student Government Association (SGA), I was exposed to many of the needs and concerns held by students on campus. Living on a small campus with 500 students, one need stuck out in particular. Each year more students were enrolled and study space became more limited as the library and study areas became crowded and more socialized. I saw that a real need existed for students who desired to achieve academic excellence, but were struggling to find quiet places to do so. Looking for opportunities to be a responsive, effective, and efficient leader, I organized the Pro-Action committee as part of the SGA. This group met with students and drew up proposals to advocate changes on behalf of the students. I recognized that the Drake Center for Academic Support (DCAS), a tremendous resource on campus, was being under utilized and created a plan that involved the DCAS and support from volunteer students to extend its operating hours from 9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The proposal was well received at first, but failed to find a way to find well qualified students that would have the integrity of monitoring the center and its technology, as well as being able to provide academic support through peer mentoring.
At the semester’s close I was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa and decided to further develop my leadership skills by becoming actively involved with the society. I became a service officer and contributed to the creation and implementation of a variety of activities and events. The more I became involved the more I saw the power and potential that Phi That Kappa provided. As I became aware of the Phi Theta Kappa hallmarks and ideals, it occurred to my second semester in the spring of 2008 that Phi Theta Kappa would be a prime candidate for providing students to service as Peer Academic Mentors in the DCAS. Not only would Phi Theta Kappa be given an opportunity to develop their members through this program by pursuing a leadership role on campus, they’d be offering their services through scholarship as peer mentors and tutors. The students in Phi Theta Kappa were already achieving excellence in academics as well as character, perfectly suiting the requirements needed for DCAS monitors.
I drew up an initial proposal and submitted it to the Student Government Association as well as Phi Theta Kappa. This time I was met with great enthusiasm and was given permission to meet with the President of the college and the Vice President of Academic affairs to gain their approval and organize the program.
A year after its conception in the fall of 2007, the Phi Theta Kappa Peer Mentor program began effectively monitoring the Drake Center for Academic Achievement three nights a week as of September 2008 and has plans of expanding to five nights a week. Currently we staff three Phi Theta Kappa monitors to extend DCAS hours from 9:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. to monitor and upkeep a positive and comfortable work atmosphere. In the spring of 2009 we will be meeting with the President of the college and the Vice President of Academic Affairs to discuss tutoring/ coaching workshops for the Phi Theta Kappa DCAS mentors.
This program has been a success in more ways than I can state here. Because of our college’s extremely small size, growing student population, and remote location in the mountains in Vermont, students are limited to the confines of the campus to seek out suitable study locations. It has genuinely benefited the students that voiced their dire need for additional quiet study locations by providing a place free from distractions where students can retreat from the busy campus and find quiet solace in their studies.
From Phi Theta Kappa’s standpoint, this program has allowed them to fulfill the ideals and hallmarks of service, fellowship, scholarship, and leadership. Since I was elected and assumed presidency of Phi Theta Kappa for the fall of 2008, I have encouraged and watch students step outside themselves and grow as leaders by selflessly committing their time and energy to the program and what it stands for. As for my personal growth, I’ve had an extraordinary opportunity to learn about leading and inspiring people to achieve something positive. I was taught a great deal about how to delegate with superiors and facilitate plans with my peers. From conceiving a vision, to gathering support, to implementing a plan and sticking to it, I have yet to stop learning. Every day has been an opportunity to grow, and for that I am blessed.

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