1998 Cousins National Chapter Award
How to Become a Successful Psi Chi Chapter
Mary Schooner, Psi Chi Chapter President
1998 Cousins Award Winner
Winning Chapter's Essay
Mesa State College Psi Chi Chapter
CAPTION: Receiving the Cousins National Chapter Award for the Mesa State College Psi Chi Chapter at the 1998 Psi Chi/APA National Convention are, from left: Leeann Benway, Teresa Mays, Mary Schooner, and Dr. Karen E. Ford.
A successful Psi Chi chapter provides leadership and fellowship, encourages membership, and honors scholarship. Throughout the academic year, the successful chapter provides opportunities for its members, not only to enhance their education, but also to create avenues for personal growth. At the heart of the thriving chapter, three qualities should be apparent: dedication, motivation, and openness to diversity. These qualities can enhance the achievements of the chapter and promote advancement of the field of psychology.
One of the goals of Psi Chi is to provide recognition for the academic achievements of its membership. Induction into this society is a landmark event for those dedicated to the pursuit of the study of psychology. Last fall, 13 members were inducted into Mesa State College’s chapter, and this spring many more will be invited. Membership to this society is an honor and serves as a valuable reward for those who strive toward scholarly and personal excellence.
In addition to scholarship, members should be dedicated to the needs of the community in which they live. Since its inception, the Mesa State College Chapter has faithfully supported various human service organizations and community events. For example, this year we raised approximately $450 dollars for AIDS Walk Colorado which contributes funds to local agencies that provide services for those living with AIDS. In addition, we held a garage sale to raise money for the Warren McKerrow AIDS Foundation which also provides services for those living with AIDS. During the holidays, we placed two Giving Trees in the community and collected 40 Christmas gifts for needy children in the area. At the state level, we were able to submit 1,492 donations of books and journals to help Colorado State University’s Morgan Library replace lost and destroyed items after it was inundated by flood waters.
Clearly, without motivation goals and objectives could never be achieved. Psi Chi members must have the fortitude and inspiration that it takes to be well-rounded collegiates and productive citizens. Motivation is key to the success of every one of our endeavors. It is extremely important that the officers serve as effective role models in motivating fellow members to embrace the Psi Chi standard and “not be content with merely adequate performance of the tasks required of them.” One of the primary goals of our chapter each year is to attend the annual Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (RMPA) convention. This event provides numerous opportunities for our members to meet other Psi Chi student members, to present their own research, to participate in seminars, and to attend lectures by leaders in the field of psychology. Each year our chapter members submit research proposals to RMPA and thus further demonstrate the motivation to advance the science of psychology.
Openness to Diversity
As students of psychology, Psi Chi members are constantly exposed to the similarities and differences that exist within and beyond our own society. Similarities remind us of the values and attributes we share as a community, whereas differences can serve to remind us of our uniqueness as individuals. We recognize that we must try to understand and support those who are marginalized and sometimes devalued by society by using Psi Chi’s standard of “logical thinking, and critical---yet tolerant---open-mindedness.” Only by doing this can we influence others to contribute their share in human progress. For example, this year the Mesa State Psi Chi chapter provided members with opportunities to learn about varied perspectives and to obtain accurate information about marginalized or devalued groups by holding forums that featured the following topics: (a) a panel in which several professionals in the community discussed issues related to the juvenile justice system; (b) a public forum on same-sex marriage to educate chapter members and the local public about this controversial issue; (c) a lecture on the topic of homelessness given by a local homeless citizen; and, (d) a presentation providing facts and dispelling myths about HIV and AIDS.
Dedication, motivation, and an openness to diversity will ensure the success of any Psi Chi chapter. These qualities will help to lay the foundation for strong leadership, active membership, excellence in scholarship, effective fellowship, and a mature sense of social responsibility.