How to Support the Texas Region as Alumni and the Transfer Process
Giving Back: The Role of Alumni
Supporting the People, Programs, and Priorities of Phi Theta Kappa
The purpose of the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association is to support and promote the people, programs, and priorities of the Phi Theta Kappa Society, fostering and encouraging the communication and affiliation among all alumni and friends. These Alumni and Friends have valuable contributions to make to this Association through continuing the experience of fellowship by working with others who have shared in the Phi Theta Kappa experience. Together the alumni and friends can help insure a bright future for new generations of scholars and leaders.
Alumni Association Membership
Any member of Phi Theta Kappa, who upon leaving the community college, was a member in good and regular standing and who was enrolled for at least one year in a two-year college meets alumni status and is eligible to participate in alumni programs. Also eligible for participation are all honorary members of Phi Theta Kappa. Membership is open to all qualified persons without regard to race, creed, religion, sexual orientation or national origin.
The broad-based alumni program offers alumni several categories of membership from which to choose. Alumni may choose to be a:
- Member at large of the International Alumni Association
- Member of a senior institution-based, community based, or regional alumni association
- Member at large and local alumni association membership simultaneously
International Alumni Association
There are no dues for membership in the International Alumni Association, however, members are strongly encouraged to provide financial support and/or assist in efforts to raise funds for the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation.
The International Alumni Association is facilitated by International Headquarters and the Alumni Advisory Council. Any member of the International Alumni Association who has been officially recorded on the alumni rolls at Headquarters is eligible to serve on the Alumni Advisory Council. The Alumni Advisory Council advises the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors and Headquarters Staff on matters pertaining to the Society.
The Alumni Advisory Council is comprised of the Phi Theta Kappa Director of Development, and ex-officio, non-voting member; a member of the International Alumni Association who is elected by Phi Theta Kappa Alumni attending the International Convention to serve a one-year term; an individual appointed by the Phi Theta Kappa Board of Directors to serve a three-year term; and three individuals appointed by the Executive Director to serve staggered three-year terms.
Types of Alumni Associations: Senior Institutions, Community-based, and Regional Alumni Associations
Association structure, membership, frequency of meetings, annual dues, voting processes, and officer candidate eligibility vary with individual alumni associations. The mission and purpose of the different types of Alumni Association follows International guidelines and must adhere to the missions of the International Alumni Associations.
Senior Institution- based Association:
- Provides a smooth transition to university life for Phi Theta Kappa transfer students.
- Provides a support base and encourages members to continue their pursuit of academic excellence.
- Supports the local Phi Theta Kappa chapter
- Assists in the transfer process to the senior institution
- Provides career mentoring, contacts and referrals within their respective career fields
- Supports the community served by the college
- Supports all Phi Theta Kappans and chapters within their region
- Promotes attendance to and assists with regional programs
- Provides scholarship and transfer information to graduating members
- Provides career mentoring
- Assists with chapter programs as needed.
How Do Alumni Fit in with Phi Theta Kappa Programs and Priorities?
It may take some time to determine exactly how alumni fit into local and regional programs. But by utilizing area alumni, the workload can be lessened for the local chapter advisor, the regional coordinator, regional officers and convention host chapters. Talk to your local advisor or regional coordinator and discuss ways you can assist the chapters or region in meeting their goals. Some suggested ways that alumni members can help Phi Theta Kappa are:
- Serve as Speakers or Providing Referrals- Alumni members are a wealth of information. They are resources for chapters or regional meetings drawing on their experiences as a member. They may work in a field or have life experience that is pertinent to the current Honors Topic, annual Service Project, leadership or a host of workshop topics- or they may have contacts and can serve as a liaison for the region.
- Serving as Regional Judges- Alumni can assist with judging regional competitions- either on-site or before a convention if deadlines allow. They may have experiences that can assist with an art or literary competitions, essay competitions, yearbook competitions and other chapter or regional award competitions.
- Assisting with Scholarship Development- Scholarship opportunities seem to be of primary interest to Phi Theta Kappans transferring to senior institutions. Alumni may have the contacts that can open doors to opportunities. Or, at the very least, open the door for advisors, regional coordinators and the Headquarters staff in developing new scholarship opportunities.
- Coordinating College and Career Fairs- College and Career fairs are wonderful ways to introduce Phi Theta kappa members to senior institutions looking for transfer students and businesses looking to hire qualified work staff. And, and even better way to introduce senior institutions and businesses to the high caliber students found in Phi Theta Kappa. Alumni can serve as the coordinators of a college and/or career fair at regional conventions.
- Assisting with Chapters and Regional Programs- Alumni can draw upon their experience to assist in motivating individuals and chapters to participate in regional competitions. Alumni may conduct seminars or workshops during conventions on a variety of topics. Or they may work with members one-on-one proofing scholarship or award applications. Additionally, alumni may shepherd a student through the scholarship application process.
- Assisting with Regional Events- Alumni can be very valuable resources in assisting with regional events. They can assist with site plans, registration, or other on-site jobs. Alumni make great “behind-the-scenes” resources.
- Assisting with Officer Academy programs- Alumni are great resources to help with an officer academy whether it is on a regional scale or chapter scale. Many alumni are former officers and regional officers and can provide the necessary transition information for new officers. Alumni are also typically close in proximity in case the new officer has questions, needs help with a project or even just advice. Host a weekend retreat with active chapter’s new officer team.
- Create a Fund Raising Opportunity to send a member to an International event- Many associations raffle off gift baskets, sell items in a market place, host a variety show, or any other idea you can come up with to raise funds. Designate these funds to send a student to either the International Convention or if enough is collected the International Honors Institute. Or, your association can provide financial assistance to a local Phi Theta Kappa chapter to send members to Regional and International events.
- Help a local chapter meet their 5-Star goals– Many chapters have little to no funding. So, create an event for them to help the chapter reach their goals. If they have chosen to reach the 5-Star level, they must participate in a minimum of 4 honors topic events (comprehensive program). With this new topic of pop culture- have a game night and invite them to play the Trivial Pursuit game that deals with pop culture. Be sure to discuss other ways they can host events on their own campus related to the topic. **Don’t let them go home empty-handed.
- Sponsor a trip to a senior-institution- If you live near a chapter that is close to a senior institution, work with the senior institution to put together a Phi Theta Kappa visitation day. This is a big recruiting tool for the senior institution knowing that they could potentially get some excellent transfer students out of their efforts. Many senior institutions are willing to provide lunch, campus tours, special workshops on scholarships, the transfer process, financial aid, tutoring services, and on-campus jobs. If that senior institution has a Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association, try to piggy-back on one of their events as well. It will get the alumni members to interact with the visiting members.
How can Alumni Give Something Back?
- Provide recognition to outstanding college members, advisors, and administrators
- Assist local college chapters by providing speakers for programs
- Provide financial support for local chapter members to attend regional and international meetings
- Provide Scholarships to local chapter members to help cover costs of attending the community college
- Host a fellowship for inductees and returning chapter members to encourage active participation in chapter, regional and international events
- Encourage businesses to provide funds and supplies to support local chapters
- Work in collaborative activities with the two-year chapters to support the college and community
- Support the Society’s programs and people by contributing to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Fund
- Serve as mentors to local chapter members preparing to transfer to senior institutions
- Serve as career mentors for those entering the workforce
- Host a transfer day event for new transfer students at the senior institution
- Serve as hosts during the local chapter’s induction ceremony
- Host a graduation reception for members of Phi Theta Kappa
- Host a reception following an active chapter’s induction ceremony. Alumni members would coordinate the event, including providing refreshments, setting up, serving the refreshments, and clean up afterwards. This frees up the chapter officers and the returning members so they can mingle with inductees and their families.
- Raise the funds to provide a scholarship for a returning member of the local chapter to continue their education at the two-year college
- Assist College Alumni Office with mailings/ envelope stuffing, committees, co-hosting their programs, and fundraising efforts.
- Establish a Distinguished Alumnus Recognition Award to recognize outstanding alumni contributions to local or regional Phi Theta Kappa programs
- Assist the local chapter or regional program with new officer orientations
- Host a regional alumni outing: float trip/ camping trip, night at a professional sports event, tour of an area attraction, evening at a theater or symphony
- Host an instructor appreciation luncheon or dinner
- Provide valet parking for campus/ community events
- Sponsor a community/ campus blood drive
- Host a Get Acquainted Dance or other event for new students
- Participate in local service organizations: Special Olympics, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Big Brother/ Big Sister Programs
- Provide food for chapter orientations, inductions, fundraising or social events
- Offer your artistic, musical, media or other skills to enhance a Phi Theta Kappa event
- Send special congratulatory letters or certificates to members graduating cum laude, magna cum lade, or summa cum laude
- Provide other assistance when appropriate and needed
Alumni are a valuable chapter resource!
Use Them, But Don’t Abuse Them!
Utilizing your alumni members is an intricate part of a successful organization! (This is a tool for the chapters and region to find and use you.)
- Increases Community Relations
- Gives your organization the extra help it needs.
How Do You Find Your Alumni?
- Look in the Phi Theta Kappa archives for your chapter
- Your Advisor can contact the International Website for e-members. (This will give you a list of your present and past members as well as contact information.)
- Your Advisor can contact Leslie at International Headquarters at 1-800-946-9995 and they can send you a list of the names and contacts for your chapter. You can also specify the date range you would like for your members.
- The Alumni contact at International Headquarters is Courtney Taylor. She can also help you with Alumni Relations and the role of Alumni within the International Association.
How Should You Contact Your Alumni?
- Obtain the list of names and addresses from Headquarters.
- Send a letter containing:
- Request for updated information
- Tell them about e-members and the Phi Theta Kappa Alumni Association- these items are free for members through the International Headquarters. By them signing up, your chapter has access to updated contact information for that person.
- Tell them about the International Alumni Association- again this is free and your chapter will have access to their updated information.
- Invite them to participate as an alumni member of the chapter and let them know how much your chapter needs and appreciates their help.
What Can Alumni Do For You?
- Give your chapter insight on past events- what worked really well or what didn’t work at all
- Supply bodies
- Help with officer training (Alumni are a valuable resource for training!)
- Orientations: shows prospective members the history for your chapter; shows a cohesive bond; shows that they enjoyed their time at the Community College and are willing to give back; they can help pass out programs, help with seating, set-up or clean up, or do anything else your officer team would essentially do. This will free up your officer team to meet and greet!
- Inductions: contact new members to make sure they are coming; help make phone calls to encourage the prospective members to join and become active (to meet your pinnacle goals); help seat guests, get the names of other chapter visitors, alumni, regional or international officers or guests; help serve during the reception. BE SURE YOU RECOGNIZE THESE ALUMNI MEMBERS FOR THEIR HARD WORK DURING THE INDUCTION CEREMONY!
- Do not leave them out. If they do not feel like they are being appreciated, they will not want to participate in the future. UTILIZED THEM OR LOSE THEM.
- Other events: body support, advertisement help, contributions of materials or services.
You can NEVER have too much help!
Planning a Big Event?
You only have a few key officers that are willing to help you… What do you do?
Contact your Alumni! They can help you print/ post fliers, get donations (monetary, raffles, bake sales, auction items), sell fundraising items, serve as greeters, etc. They can help you in all aspects of your program.