1999 Cousins National Chapter Award
How to Become a Successful Psi Chi Chapter
Deborah Rivas, Psi Chi Chapter President
Natasha Lamarque, Psi Chi Chapter Alumni Advisor
Winner of the 1999 Cousins
National Chapter Award
What makes a successful Psi Chi chapter are active members, an involved and supportive faculty advisor, and participation by faculty and students in meetings, events, and activities. From freshman orientation, involvement in meetings, events and the induction ceremony to graduation and beyond, you are the ones who fulfill the mission of Psi Chi on a continued basis. Members who truly believe that they are integral to the success of a chapter will do whatever they can to make it happen.
Your experience as a member of Psi Chi will provide opportunities for personal growth, professional leadership development, academic achievement, and community service, from your campus to the world. Seize these opportunities. You will empower your fellow members to define the character of your chapter accordingly.
This year, we attended several local, state, regional, and national conferences. Some of us presented at these places: the Hunter College Conference, the New York State Psychological Association Convention, and the annual convention of the American Psychological Association. All felt that attending these conferences was a great learning experience and that presenting was even more beneficial in terms of establishing professional identities in the field of psychology.
In addition to participation in conferences, we fulfilled our purpose by encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining scholarship in psychology and human relations throughout our programming. We continued the successful Matthew Helm faculty - student research mentoring and peer-mentoring programs. We hosted a number of GRE workshops, a "Getting Into Graduate School in Psychology" panel, and invited a job recruiter from an organization that works with autistic children (QSAC). Bioethics Forum III: Legal and Environmental Issues in Research was a very well-attended event that brought students and faculty together to discuss current issues in research. Dr. John Hogan, professor of psychology at St. John's University (New York) and a guest lecturer at our 7th Annual Undergraduate Psychology Conference, spoke about the history of psychology.
As a result of the multitude of activities we have sponsored and hosted, we have encouraged the chapter's growth as well as our own personal development. We have collectively become proficient at planning important events months in advance and in employing our unique problem-solving and creative-thinking skills to foresee obstacles as well as to resolve current conflicts. Encouraging all our members to engage in mentorships between prospective and current members has also proven to be a fruitful experience. Our experienced officers have endeavored to involve new members in many different capacities. Through this type of involvement the new officers have learned a great deal about enriching their academic life through opportunities to obtain practical experience, leadership, and public speaking skills.
In order to foster broader views with regard to problems that confront students of psychology and human relations, we chose to exercise our social leadership via community service. We started by assessing our immediate community--the university. We held a book drive, a substance abuse workshop entitled "How to Cure a Hangover," and a t'ai chi workshop for our stress management series. Then we ventured into the local community by being involved in Publicolor, Upward Bound, and QSAC. In addition, we hosted a tour of the Pace campus for the inner-city youth of the 21st Century Leadership Youth Program. Most of our fundraisers were actually held to benefit community organizations that are of special interest to our members. We held a bake sale to benefit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Our biggest social/community service project was the Pace Leaders Auction, at which student leaders were auctioned off as personal assistants for a day to benefit Hurricanes Georges and Mitch victims (Hispanic Federation).
One way to create active membership in the Psi Chi chapter at your university is to diversify in programming, The Pace New York Psi Chi Chapter has consistently coordinated events and activities that reflect the diversity of its members and its interests. While adhering to the purpose of "encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship," diverse programming generates: (a) open-mindedness toward new and different ideas, (b) interest in the chapter from other campus and professional organizations, creating a larger pool of resources, and (c) the opportunity to value the different backgrounds, cultures, and interests of members.
A Collaborative Spirit
Every event our chapter plans is a collaborative effort, involving participation from many active members and faculty. Collaborative planning also extends to cosponsors of events and activities with other campus organizations. Cooperation is vital because it allows for the exchange of ideas and dialogue between members and other students, faculty, and staff at your college. In this manner, your Psi Chi chapter will establish itself as a much sought-after organization with which to work, one whose members appreciate their environment and seek to build community. A strong sense of unity within the chapter and community with other groups is the key to your success. The Pace New York Chapter seeks to strengthen that sense of community with every event and activity because we share the bond, the honor of belonging to a national society. There is always a larger purpose for what we do, and we don't just accept membership, we enjoy it.