Student organizations and leadership opportunities are important parts of the culture at CCV and are integral to student success. The Phi Theta Kappa honor society (PTK) is one of these opportunities. “When a student’s hard work is recognized publicly and through a formal mechanism like PTK, it does a lot to raise the intellectual bar at the school. It does a lot to raise the bar of what’s possible,” said CCV’s PTK chapter advisor Pam Monder.
The PTK chapter at CCV was established in the spring of 2016. PTK is recognized as the official honor society for two-year colleges by the American Association of Community Colleges. At CCV, the group follows the core principles of leadership, fellowship, scholarship, and service through annual programming intended to foster those four hallmark principles. In addition, CCV’s PTK chapter has the goal of cultivating community among all members of the College and working with other groups within the College whenever possible.CCV-Newport student and 2021 graduate Tina Tripodina joined PTK in the fall of 2020 and says that she decided to become a member because she “thought it would be a nice opportunity to reach out to people and be part of something.” Tina enjoys the camaraderie, discussions, and connections with other students that PTK provides through the opportunity to work collaboratively on various projects. Tina was also recently selected as a PTK New Century Transfer Scholar, which comes with a $2,250 award she will apply to her transfer to Vermont Tech.
This year, PTK members from around the state have come together to work on a college-wide project related to the work of CCV’s recently formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) task force. The group chose to create a community cookbook tentatively titled Sharing Traditions. According to Tina, the impetus for this cookbook was to create something “diverse and all-inclusive” that the whole CCV community could take part in.
CCV-Winooski student Madeline (Mady) Marquardt is the vice president of PTK and has been involved in the creation of the cookbook. “It’s going to be a cookbook that involves current students, alumni, staff, and faculty. It’s an opportunity for everybody to connect,” Mady said. She also explained that the cookbook has evolved: “we wanted to be able to include anything people wanted to share—any traditions, tips, tricks, life hacks, whatever it is they find valuable and would fit into this comprehensive book.”
The end result of the cookbook is just as community-focused as the creation of it. Any sponsorship, donations, or proceeds that are received from the sale of the cookbook will go to the Life Gap fund at CCV to support students with urgent financial needs. “If this book can help someone stay in school, I would gladly donate all of the proceeds from this project,” Tina said.
While community is important in PTK, there are also direct benefits to each of the members. For Mady, being involved in PTK and the cookbook project “has helped with my communication, empathy, and community-building skills. It’s helped me understand perspectives that I wouldn’t have seen before, which I find really refreshing. It’s the purpose of school—you go there to learn and develop yourself and grow, and that’s exactly how I feel PTK has enriched my life.”
Because of its focus on positively impacting students across the state, CCV’s PTK chapter was recently named a 2021 REACH chapter. REACH, which stands for Recognizing Excellence in Acceptance and Completion with Honors, is a program that encourages membership into PTK by rewarding chapters that excel in membership development. To Pam Monder, this recognition “says we’re doing something right. We’re getting the word out to students about something that’s really important and can help change their lives.” Further, she says the College’s recognition with this reward required support from throughout CCV. “It says that PTK has become part of the College culture.”
PTK allows students to be involved in an organization that fosters leadership development, communication skills, opportunities for community development, and collaboration with like-minded individuals. PTK members “are able to help build the community and the College in a way I think is spectacular,” Pam said. Mady added to this sentiment by saying, “once you’re a PTK member, you’re always a PTK member. It’s a very great experience and the benefits they offer last a lifetime.”
Eligible students can join PTK through member recruitment cycles each year. To become a member, CCV students must have earned 12 credits at CCV, have a cumulative GPA of 3.7, and adhere to CCV’s Student Code of Conduct. Eligible students receive invitations via email during the spring, summer, or fall recruitment cycles.