Alpha Chi Nu Chapter

Phi Theta Kappa at Southern Maine Community College

Archive for April, 2006

Madeline Albright at Convention

Posted by alphachinu on April 22, 2006

The Keynote Speaker for the Third General Session was the admirable Madeline Albright. She spoke of the need for everyone to show basic respect to their fellow people. She also spoke of the interconnectedness of a lot of religions: Treat others how you want to be treated. Whether in Christianity, Judiasm, Buddism, Hinduism, Confucism, or Islam. The major texts of each of the named religions have respect for the individual at their core. Respect for the individual, as Ms. Albright continued, includes not killing or otherwise hurting others with intent.

The views Ms. Albright spoke of are very prominient in my own life. In the last six months or so, I have been developing a burning desire to promote respect for individuals, dignity for all, and the ability to make choices being allowed to all. In the human services field there are times when guardians, workers, counselors, state case workers, and even advocates deny the chance to choose to the individuals who are being served. This can happen in any agency, state, or country. All individuals must be asked for input in decisions regarding them. If the decision is unavoidable, then the support team can work with the person to make the decision easier to handle.

We are all individuals, and as such are entitled to choose how we are to live our lives. Without the chance to make choices something in us dies. We need to be able to control our destiny in some small way. Without the chance to control our destiny, we withdraw, develop anger issues, and either hurt others or ourselves. Homicide and suicide are the ultimate expressions of anger. Homicide is extreme anger directed at others and suicide is extreme anger directed at ourselves.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary


Posted in Conventions, Musings | 1 Comment »

First Day of Convention FUN!!

Posted by alphachinu on April 21, 2006

Today was a lot of fun! Some of us went to Conflict Resolution, Public Speaking, and the Harry Potter educational forums. All were informative, fun, and had good depth.

We ran into our friends from Asnuntuck Community College that we met at Regional Convention. It was great to hook up with great people we haven't seen for a little while. Cool!

It is 12:30am Seattle time and I am used to Maine time. So, for me it is 3:30am.

I'll post more in the morning.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Seattle Fun Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Why Seattle has potholes in sidewalks

Posted by alphachinu on April 19, 2006

Yesterday, we went to The Underground and got to see the part of Seattle that was built on the mudflats when Seattle was first built. The businesses were all on the coast and up on the bluffs is where the houses were. There was a fire started in a glue factory, oil product, and it grew like crazy when the 24-year old who was working threw water on the fire. Then, it spread to nearby businesses.

Since the firechief was in San Diego at a firefighters' convention, the second-in-command fire official decided to create a dead zone around the fire by blowing up the buildings the fire was near. However, the fire was moving so fast that it was igniting the dynamite instead. So, the fire was raging and buildings were being blown up by the fire, sending flaming peices of wood through the air onto other nearby, wooden, buildings. When the fire officials realized they were not going to be able to contain the fire, they decided to let Seattle burn.

Next came the rebuilding. The city officials decided to build the city on a grid like Denver and Washington, D.C. and they decided to build it on retaining walls higher than the mudflats to assist with sewage removal. The retaining walls surround each city block and were filled in with sawdust from the lumber mills, trash, dead animals, and the remains of the Californian town ravaged by arson fires at that time The landfill was placed in the streets and then paved over with cobble stones.

The townspeople started to rebuild their businesses as well between the retaining walls. So, you had really high walls, eight to 30 feet, with a sidewalk below and no guardrails. If something fell from street level, it could kill a person, especially if the something was a someone. There were ladders at each corner of each intersection to allow townspeople the opportunity to climb up, walk across the street, climb down and continue with their shopping. This was okay for the men, but the ladies wore huge skirts with many layers of petticoats and slips. Can you imagine trying to climb a ladder in a getup like that? Especially with very helpful, lecherous men at the base of each ladder.

This continued for three years. In one year there were 18 deaths from falling onto the sidewalks or something falling onto someone from the sidewalks. The townspeople had had enough. The town decided to raise the sidewalks to Street level. They put girders from the retaining walls to the buildings and used barrel vaults to pave between the new sidewalks. Since businesses were still accessible from below the sidewalks, the city installed prismatic glass in blocks into the sidewalk to allow light into all corners of the lower sidewalk. The townspeople abandoned the lower sidewalks in favor of the street level sidewalks when the town condemed the area in 1907.

So, why does Seattle have so many potholes in the roads and sidewalks? Do you remember what the streets are made of? Sawdust, trash, animals, and building remains, all of which are biodegradeable. The roads are sinking, causing the sidewalks to buckle towards the road and where the stress is greatest the sidewalks and roads break — potholes!

I hope you enjoyed this version of the Under Ground. If you want to know about the Sewing Circle Ladies, ask me! 🙂
Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Seattle Fun Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Seattle’s Green!!

Posted by alphachinu on April 18, 2006

We arrived in Seattle very, very early last night and even at night we were amazed at how green everything is.

Maine is still coming out of a dry winter and just starting to turn green. Here trees are blossoming, grass is tall, and the variety of plants and trees is simply amazing. I just read the title of this post while composing my thoughts and think I've figured out why International is happening here, specifically. Seattle is green, a healthy environment is green, a heathy environment is diverse, and Seattle has all of that in a modern, bustling city. Not to mention, Seattle is home to many First American tribes and has a rich and varied history of diverse immigrants comingling with the ones found here. Simply, amazing!!

Some of the chapter decided to come on our own to sight see for a few days before the convention, and so far we have visited the Experience Music Project, the Space Needle, the Science Fiction Museum, and the International District. Some of us even saw an escalator for shopping carts at a Target store with two stories. It was neat and reminded me of a cog rail system. Today, some of us are going to explore the Pike Place Market area. We are having a blast and pictures will be up soon!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Dragon on Lightpost in International District

Just a taste of what's to come!

Posted in Musings, Seattle Fun Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Super Charging Your Chapter

Posted by alphachinu on April 17, 2006

Motivated members, volunteers, colege administration, and communities lead to more trust in your chapter and more people who want to be involved.

The moderators of this forum at the New England Regional Convention split the attendees into three groups. One group to brainstorm ideas for increasing motivation among current members. One group to generate ideas for a meeting with a college president to convince the president to continue supporting the chapter despite lackluster performance. And the final group to compile a list of methods to excite members and increase participation.

The first group brainstormed the following ideas to increase motivation:

  • host an event/fundraiser: dance, party, bake sale, pop-culture night, etc.
  • work with other groups like the Senate, Gay Straight Alliance, Environmental Club, or other student organizations to co-sponsor events and share advertising
  • host a Faculty/Staff Tea, generates faculty/staff support
  • host a Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day, baked goods and handmade cards delivered to each mailbox on campus
  • Induction ideas included:
    • APB-All Points Bulletine- before Induction to faculty/staff to congratulate prospective Inductees on their hard work
    • ask Inductees to list influential teachers/staff members to be invited by the chapter to Induction
    • ask the college President to speak at Induction
    • Induct an Honorary Member at each Induction from the community who has shown much support for the chapter
  • write a monthly article in the school paper
  • post flyers and banners when advertising
  • give brochures to counseling department at area high schools, New Student Orientation, and to College Fairs department
  • to get support for regional activities, focus on local areas to get the support needed to send members to regional or international events

The second group generated the following ideas to convince the college administration to continue supporting the chapter:

  • use peer pressure
    • explain plan of action to advisor and get feedback
    • petition Senate and Students to prevent losing funding
    • petition to Student Senate President to get support
  • President Presentation
    • calendar of events
    • show petition signatures
    • show other examples of support

The third group listed the following ideas to excite members and increase participation:

  • survey the members regarding
    • best meeting times
    • learn their interests to match with specific tasks
    • learn their time constraints and respect them
  • vary types of meetings
    • workers usually can't meet during the day
    • give Inductees flyer with prospective meeting times
    • speak to students before classes
    • yahoo! groups is a good tool for meeting
  • share ideas with other colleges' chapters
  • fellowship through service by joining with another chapter to work on projects

This list of ideas is just what we came up with in one and a half hours. Just imagine the possible results for your chapter of implementing some of these ideas. Use this list as a starting point and go where you need to go from it.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Public Relations | Leave a Comment »

Jennifer Rogers’ Regional Presentation

Posted by alphachinu on April 14, 2006

Jennifer Rogers, Director of Honors Programs, from Jackson, MS, introduced the new International Honors Topic for the 2006-2008 school years. The Prgram Guide will be available at International and the Resource Packets will be available online after the Convention.

Ms. Rogers started her presentation by asking the audience to envision power and jot down or draw what came to mind. I drew a picture of a tank, representing military might of the US. I also wrote strength, control, empowerment, guys in power suits (Men In Black style). After giving the audience a few moments, Ms. Rogers opened the floor by asking what had been written. The audience members called out a variety of ideas: power shot, teach, help, serve, pen, light bulb, leadership, influence, knowledge, music, and lightening. Ms. Rogers then told the audience her list: God, President, Hurricanes, weapons, and money.

Ms. Rogers continued to discuss power and its connotations. The dictionary defines power as the ability to act or produce an effect. Max Weber, a German sociologist, defined power as the ability to impose own will on others — coercion. Niche, the German philosopher, defined power as the need to weild and use power to dominate others. Adler, a psychologist, stated power comes from one's own weaknesses — inferiority complex. Stephen Lukes said everything involves power. Alvin Toeffler, in the book POWER SHIFT, looks at power as it has changed from might to wealth to knowledge. As one deepens theirunderstanding of power, one defines power in more complex ways.

Ms. Rogers continued her discussion by describing how the honors topic is chosen. Every two years, a meeting is held to determine the topic and rate suggested topics on the following criteria:

  • Interdisciplinary
  • International
  • Issue Oriented
  • In the News
  • Important
  • Interesting

The discussions some of us had regarding power were at the same time uplifting and depressing because while much has been done, there is much left to be done. I know we will make great strides in equality for all within my lifetime.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Honors Topic | Leave a Comment »

Earth Day, A Week Late

Posted by alphachinu on April 12, 2006

As the 2006-2008 International Service Project is "Operation Green", I think it would be great if we can assist in this great cause.

Lila Jones, the Americorps*VISTA and Civic Engagement Coordinator, is the campus contact person for the beach cleanup project at Willard Beach. The neighborhood group for residents from the college community organized the event and Lila is trying to get SMCC students involved as well.

Please bring pruning supplies if you have them anddesire to help remove the invasive plants. We will be picking up trash and removing invasive plants at the Willard and Willow Street beach entrances. Bags and gloves are going to be provided. If there are enough volunteers we will clean the beach and the path up to Spring Point Light and Fisherman's Point.

Please met in the Campus Center if you are interested in helping at 8:45 am, Satrday, April 29. We will head out from there.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Fellowship, Projects, Service | Leave a Comment »

Blogging International Convention

Posted by alphachinu on April 11, 2006

Phi Theta Kappa hosted a Blog the Convention contest to select five chapters to be representative of the convention. I am deeply honored and very pleased to announce that our chapter has been selected as one of the five to Blog the Convention!! 😉 I can't wait to get to Seattle and see all the fun stuff.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Breaking News | 4 Comments »

We are gearing up for the trip to Seattle!

Posted by alphachinu on April 9, 2006

Hi all,

The members who are going to convention are getting ready to go to Seattle! Yeah! We hope to not experience any turbulence in the air and will likely have a great time sleeping on the plane.

We will be leaving Easter night to do some sight seeing on our own before the convention starts. I know I want to see the world famous Pike Place Fish Market. They are the ones written about in the book, FISH! The authors noted that the fishmongers have four primary beliefs about making anyplace to work less work: Play!, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day, and Be Present. It's also the place with the flying fish. The book and my friends say it is a must see.  

We've all talked about Mt. Reiner, the Space Needle, and Marie Callender's Restuarant. I can't wait to see all the wonderful things in Seattle!!

Then, we get to represent the school at the Phi Theta Kappa, International Convention. Yippee! It will be a blast! We'll learn so much, get to fellowship with other chapters, and have a great time in the process. What could be better!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Fellowship, Musings | Leave a Comment »

Upcoming Convention Plans

Posted by alphachinu on April 3, 2006

The available presentations are grouped into five rounds spaced throughout the convention. Let's try to attend as many as we can. Please comment on the post to indicate which you are interested in.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

For Round One, Thursday, April 20, 10:30am-11:45am

The educational forums include: Relay for Life, Honors Topic Overview, Reaching Pinnacle, Five Star Program, Project Graduation.
The chapter success forums cover recruitment and the Personal Assistant Program (PAM) for advisors.
The beyond the chapter forums include: resolving conflict, scholar dollars, speaking with confidence.

For Round Two, Thursday, April 20, 1:30pm-2:45pm

The educational forums include: Operation Green, Satellite Seminars, Civic Engagement.
The chapter success forums include: increasing membership, basic website building, voting delegates, and PAM.
The beyone the chapter forums include: Leadership in the Half-Blood Prince, Chartering and Growing Regional and Community Clumni Associations, and Competing for Nationally Competitive Scholarships.
The advisor roundtables include: Benefits and Opportunities, Officer Development, and Building an Advisor Team.
The career forums include: Federal employment, Leadership Compass, and Peace Corps.

For Round Three, Friday, April 21, 8:15am-9:30am

The educational forums include: Operation Green, Better World Books, Five Star, Honors Institute, and Community College Readership Program.
The chapter success forums include: Gaining Administrative Support, Fundraising Success, Chapter Involvement, and PAM for advisors.
The beyond the chapter forums include: Nonverbal Group Communication, Senior Institution Alumni Associations, Running for Regional/International Offices.
The advisor roundtables include: Success as a Solo Advisor, Developing Advisor Teams, and Motiviating Members.
The career forums include: Ethics, Taxes for Starting a Small Business, and Website Design.

For Round Four, Friday, April 21, 4:30pm-5:45pm

The educational forums include: Relay for Life, Case Study Challenge 101, Hallmarks Awards Program, and th Politically Engaged Chapter.
The chapter success forums include: Chapter Public Relations, Managing Membership Acceptance with PAM, and Benefits of Phi Theta Kappa for College Administrators.
The beyond the chapter forums include:Personal Leadership Philosophy, Transistion from CC to University, Alumni Associations, Hosting a Regional Meeting, and Scholar Dollars.
The advisor forums include: Banishing Burnout, Organization Tips, and Manageing Conflict.
The career forums include: Federal Employment process, and Insurance.

For Round Five, Saturday, April 22, 8:15am-9:30am

The educational forums include: Operation Green and Honors Study Topic.
The chapter success forums include: Fundraising, Motivating Members, Hallmarks, Increasing Membership Acceptance, Increasing Membership Acceptance for Non-Transfer Students, and PAM for advisors.
The beyond the chapter forums include: Winning Scholarship Application, Alumni Business Meeting, Leadership Development.
The advisor forums include: Benefits and Opportunities, Officer Development, and Motivationg Members.
The career forums include: A Career in Insurance and Ethics in Engineering.

Posted in Conventions, Projects | 2 Comments »

Previous Conventions

Posted by alphachinu on April 3, 2006

If you have been to a convention in the past, please post your memories by commenting on this message. Thank you!!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Past Convention Memories | Leave a Comment »