2005 Cousins National Chapter Award Winner
How to Build a Successful Psi Chi Chapter: "Pyramid of Success"
Susan Jobe, Emporia State University Psi Chi Chapter President 2005
Amy Soyez, Emporia State University Psi Chi Chapter President 2004
The Emporia State University's chapter of Psi Chi is a success because we created a strong foundation and built levels upon the foundation. Those levels lead to the top of the pyramid which is the highest achievement. The mission of Psi Chi is to "encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship of the individual members in all fields, particularly psychology, and to advance the science of psychology." Our pyramid of success shows other chapters how to create and maintain a successful Psi Chi chapter.
Leadership is the foundation upon which the pyramid of success rests. Without outstanding leadership, a Psi Chi organization would struggle. Our faculty advisor is a part of the foundation of the leadership core. He is very dedicated and always there to provide energy, enthusiasm, and support. The officers provide the other parts of the foundation. Each of the officers and the advisor have a different job and certain responsibilities, but like interlocking blocks of a pyramid, cooperation allows chapters to function successfully and efficiently.
Membership commitment and dedication is the next level built on leadership. Members of Psi Chi are initiated, and the chapter provides incentive, intrinsic motivation, and extrinsic motivation for members to become actively involved. Our incentive and motivation for involvement is fellowship, advancing scholarship, working with faculty, services to the campus and community, and financial assistance to attend the annual American Psychological Association Convention. To assist in creating a committed and dedicated membership, effective programming must be in place.
Effective programming is the next level of success. Leaders implement programs to interest committed members of Psi Chi and draw in other psychology students as well. Guest speakers should be invited to present topics of interest and relevance to the group. Community service projects should be performed to emphasize the importance of serving others selflessly, while having fun. Fundraisers are necessary to collect money to be used for honoraria, conventions, donations to worthwhile causes, and chapter activities. Socials can be scheduled to relax, lighten the mood, and network casually with psychology peers and faculty.
The fourth level in the pyramid of success is developing long standing traditions. Traditions show that an organization is dedicated and respectful of commitments. Our organization has many traditions, but we are not afraid to try new ideas or implement new projects. Our community service projects are time honored commitments. We have adopted a two-mile stretch of a U.S. Highway for the past 16 years. For the past four years, we have helped refurbish houses with the Christmas in April program. For the second time, our newest service to the community occurred in October of 2004 with our program to bring awareness to National Depression Screening Day.
Our other traditions include our fundraising events. For 16 years we have held a Mid-Winter Bridge Tournament for the elderly in our community. Our Halloween Care Package Fundraiser has been going on for the past nine years. We have held a fundraiser for the past four years on Secretary's Day. These are successful events that help our chapter raise the funds to assist our members in attending the annual APA Convention.
Finally, reaching the top of the pyramid of success is professional development. Every level below has led up to this top benchmark. Our Psi Chi organization wants to develop and produce professionals in psychology. To accomplish this goal, we promote student scholarly activity, invite guest speakers, do community service, highlight professor and student research, and attend conventions through fundraising. All these efforts on the part of our Psi Chi chapter have produced well-rounded individuals ready to become productive members of the psychological community. Because our Psi Chi members are involved conducting and participating in research, are able to present their research, are able to discuss psychological issues, are able to learn how to "write in APA format" and how to "get into grad school," and are able to network with psychology peers and faculty, we feel our Psi Chi chapter really assists students developing as professionals.
Through these five levels of our pyramid, our chapter stimulates and encourages our members to grow personally and professionally and advance the field of psychology.
Above: Members of the Emporia State University Psi Chi Chapter, winner of the 2005 Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award, at the 2005 APA National Convention in Washington, D.C.