By Butler Lantern
What started out as a chapter at a women’s college in 1918 has now grown into a chapter at two-year colleges like Butler Community College.
Chrissy Gifford, Lead Service Desk analyst, serves as the college’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter adviser, adviser for the Kansas and Nebraska region alumni association and is a part of the advisory team.
“It’s an amazing organization and has a lot of opportunities to give not just the traditional, but the non-traditional student, the struggling student, and last year alone, they gave out $39 million to PTK students,” Gifford said. “Why would you want to miss out on that?”
Chapter members often collaborate with those on campus such as SGA (Student Government Association) and the International Student Association. The chapter also meets with Butler President Kim Krull and the various vice presidents across the campus to see how they can partner with the college. In one instance, Phi Theta Kappa walked in a Susan G. Komen, a breast cancer foundation, race to honor someone. Gifford also solicits advice from chapter members.
“What’s on your heart,” Gifford asks fellow chapter members. “What are you interested in?”
The chapter also does service work along with research. For example, Phi Theta Kappa partners with the Red Cross each semester to host a blood drive on campus. In addition, the chapter is publishing an article in a journal.
A common misconception is that Phi Theta Kappa is a sorority or fraternity like the four year colleges have, but the chapter is an honor society.
“We are the only honor society for the two-year college,” Gifford said.
Like many clubs and organizations at the college, it can be difficult to spread the word what with relying on email and snail mail.
“When they get the email or the snail mail letter to invite them to Phi Theta Kappa, they think it’s a scam because they are asking for money,” Gifford said. “We are the only organization on campus that asks for money for the membership fee. Usually by the time they want to get involved, they are almost ready to graduate.”
Bryce Deewall, a Tec-E and cybersecurity major, is the chapter’s president. He joined PTK in high school. Upon learning about the chapter, Gifford asked him when he had learned about PTK “if he wanted to be good or if he wanted to be great. You are already a good student. Let’s build on what you already have.”
“I think lots of friendships,” Deewall said when asked what PTK has offered him. “I became friends with an international student last year. I [have] met a lot of cool people.
The Tec-E, who has also been elected as the regional vice president, has been recognized for the work he has done with PTK. The chapter received 16 awards in the spring, and Deewall was recognized for his photography receiving third place.
Phi Theta Kappa is also a global organization. In fact, Gifford stays in contact with other members using SnapChat.
“I snap daily with people from Brazil and Germany,” Gifford said. “It’s a well-diversified organization.”
At one point, Gifford was approached regarding lowering the GPA requirements to 3.25 in order to join PTK, but she firmly said no to this query.
“I think if you work your rear off and you want to do this, it’s doable,” Gifford said. “I have people who call me, ‘Well, I’m a single mom, and I have six kids.’ Well, [I say in reply] ‘I know 10 single moms with six kids working full time and going to school and still getting that 3.5 [GPA]. I don’t know what they’re doing that’s different than you, but talk to that person.’”
For those interested in joining Phi Theta Kappa, a student must have a 3.5 GPA or higher and can contact Gifford at: email@example.com and (316) 323-6121.