Alpha Chi Nu Chapter

Phi Theta Kappa at Southern Maine Community College

Archive for the ‘Conventions’ Category

Gives information about local, regional, and international conventions. Thank you for reading!

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 »

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 »

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 »

Leadership Presentation at Regional Convention

Posted by alphachinu on March 23, 2006

I had the chance to sit with Vi and find out what the Leadership Presentation was all about at the New England Regional Convention.

First, thank you for your time and for sharing the information Vi.

The leadership presentation was really more of a discussion about the various aspects of leadership. The most important point was being honest with yourself. If you are honest about your strengths and weaknesses you will be better able to delegate activities to your members. For example, I am good at publicity, but terrible at cooking. If I were to try making items for the bake sale, we'd have to pay the customers to eat the food and therefore lose money.  🙂
Servant leadership is a buzzword that is strong in the business and retail communities. However, when actively applied means understanding the importance of sharing activities and responsibility with others. In addition, servant leaders understand that they do not own anything or anyone. Servant leaders try to figure out how to make it easy for their members and employees to be involved. For example, instead of saying, "Turn to page 233, in Thinking, and tell me what you think about the persuasive speech outline. " My teacher had the class develop an outline on our own, incorporating the ideas of all members of the class, and then compared what we produced to what was shown on page 233. We did a pretty good job and the teacher was a servant leader by not owning the subject of the speech, the order of items, or any part of the process.

Again, thank you Vi for sharing with me about what you learned in the Leadership Presentation at Regional Convention.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Leadership | Leave a Comment »

Saturday Convention Adventures

Posted by alphachinu on March 21, 2006

After the Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 18, we had some free time while dancing was scheduled. There was a small crowd to begin with; so, I went downstairs to the lobby. There I hooked up with Kristen and her chapter’s delegates. They were going to watch a friend’s band play at The Middle East in Boston.

We got on the T just outside the hotel. We went to the next stop and walked for miles to the club where their friend was playing. We went in one door and had to go out the building and around to the side entrance. When we got there, the door was locked and a sign listed the bands playing. Their friend’s band was not on the list. 😦 But, we had fun going through the town.

Usually, I don’t like to do new things. However, I enjoyed myself and met new, great people. Melissa, Nina Marie, Johana, Greg, Carly and Kumar, thank you for the wonderful adventure. 😉 If I misspelled any names, I do apologize.

When we got back to the hotel, we went up to the dance area. There was still a small group dancing. This time we went in and had fun seeing the guys have a dance contest. There was an amazing guy who did the most professional looking breakdancing I’ve ever seen. Totally sweet!

After the dancing, which I loved,my chapter members showed up. The girls wanted to go get something to eat. We asked at the front desk about restuarants that were still open. The desk clerk told us about a restuarant six or seven city blocks down the road. We decided we could hike it and set out. Aimee was wearing a thin shirt and she gave Vi piggy back rides to keep warm. It was fun. My feet were tired, so I felt like a mom with three energetic children whom I was letting run wild. We got about seven blocks away from the hotel and didn’t see the restuarant. We did see a 7-11 and got food there. On the way back to the hotel, I ate my ice cream candy bar even though it was freezing. I fell behind the girls and shouted to them, “Go on to the hotel. I’ll make it, just slower.” They continued on to the hotel. I wasn’t worried as the hike was a straight shot between the hotel and the 7-11. A guy with a backpack got between us, but he looked like a student and didn’t seem to notice me. I figured I would yell at him in a crazy way if he turned around and came towards me. But, my figuring was for nothing. Aimee, Krissi, and Vi were waiting for me when I got to the hotel. They were happy to see me. 🙂

 And that is the end of my Saturday Convention Adventures. Good night to all!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

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

Bottles for Seattle Project!!

Posted by alphachinu on March 20, 2006

We decided to step up our bottle collecting efforts to allow our delegates to attend the International Convention today at our officers meeting. We currently have a small fund from this activity and need more funds. We are breaking the school into territories so that four of the officers can cover the entire school. We are doing this to reduce the burden on the one officer who had been collecting the bottles. Thank you, Aimee!
For those of you not in a state that redeems bottles, the process and purpose is like this. When soda, alcohol, or other drinks are purchased the state collects a five or 15 cent fee on each bottle. So, a six-pack of soda is $.30 redemption fee. And, a bottle of wine or liquor is $.15. The money is returned to the ones who turn in the collected bottles. The main purpose is to reduce litter. A secondary purpose for the state is to collect a tax/fee without really taxing the populous because the money is returned. The state, I imagine, gets interest on any money in the account, and hopes that not all bottles are redeemed. For school groups, individuals, and others, it is a great fundraising method because it is easy. Grocery stores, convenience stores and bottle redemption centers all accept empties in exchange for money. Some places even give a little incentive if you’ve pre-counted and cleaned the bottles. Sometimes grocery stores have barrels set-up for people to donate bottles and the redemption slips to schools for various field trips.

Please donate to us when you see a bottle collection box for Phi Theta Kappa or Alpha Chi Nu on campus. I will post a list of the collection locations within a week. We really appreciate your help. Thank you!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions, Projects, Service | 1 Comment »

Dr. D and Seduce Me Presentation

Posted by alphachinu on March 20, 2006

Dr. D is a former advertiser and presented on the way media influences our lives. He likened the physical black hole from our eyes to the mental black hole. Our brains have been trained to fill in the missing information from the spot where the optic nerve enters the retina. Our brains also fill in missing data from the media.

Take a few minutes and close your eyes then use your imagination to picture a man walking on the moon. I will come back to this later.

In pictures from various media, Dr. D drew our attention to many things. The changes in Betty Boop were remarkable. In the 1920s, Betty had huge eyes, a huge head, and huge hips. Today, she still has a large head and eyes, however they are slightly smaller. More amazingly, her hips have shrunk. In parts of a presentation from one of the glamor magazines, Dr. D showed how the media changes the dimensions of a woman, Cindy Crawford, by thining her thighs, waist, and arms. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think she has anything to worry about. Both Betty Boop and Cindy Crawford examples show that the media is constantly sending us messages. Currently, those messages are along the lines of: “You are unworthy. You don’t deserve love/belonging. But, if you use this product you will be loved/worthy/belong.” The thing is that is a lie. Anyone who has bought a product believing the lies and then not received the miraclous change implied in the message will tell you the advertising was a money scam and participation left them depressed more than before.

Now back to the man walking on the moon. Do you remembered what you pictured? What did you see? If it was anything other than the original moon landing walk, then you did not use your memory to fill in the missing information. Congratulations! For the rest of you, there is hope. You can learn to imagine by recognizing and analyzing what the media is telling you, then deciding if the message is one you want to remember. If there is less stuff filling your head with messages, you have more space to imagine something you haven’t seen or done before.

I hope you learned a little from the sharing of this information and remember to question what the media is telling you, and why. I include this blog in that reminder. 🙂

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

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Christina Tedesco Presentation

Posted by alphachinu on March 20, 2006

Ms. Tedesco presented her work at the awards banquet Saturday night. The visula presentation played in the background as a slide show, while the spoken presentation regarded her challenges and successes as a person with many abilities and a few disabilities. Ms. Tedesco was diagnosed with dyslexia in high school and has had cerebal palsy since birth. She graduated from high school in New Jersey and wanted to go to Landmark College in Vermont. Her parents were at first hesitant, but she explained to them that they had reaised her to be independent and confident in her abilities. Ms. Tedesco has a great sense of humor and is a wonderful photographer. Her pictures defy definition, but I will attempt to describe them for those of you who were not present.

The photographs are of human forms made from what looks like aluminum flashing painted various colors and slightly to greatly crumpled. The bodies are set in a natural environment that looks like my Maine backyard, but could be almost any forest. They are simply amazing. Ms. Tedesco describes her work as “the colors are the pain I deal with everyday.” After her presentation she answered questions from the audience.

A gentleman who is a transplant from Texas to New England said he had experienced discrimination as a Latino and wanted her perspective on overcoming adversity. She replied, “As you can see, I am white. However, I have experienced discrimination.” She continued by talking about working hard and not letting others tell you no. She related her experience in school as an example of discrimination. Her parents are educators and were advised to put her in easy classes. Her mother said, “No, let her be challenged. She will learn more that way.” I had spoke earlier with a friend about learning more from stuff that is hard for us, compared to learning little from easy situations. I was amazed at Ms. Tedesco relating the same idea that evening.

Another person asked her if she had written her story, and if not, why not. Ms. Tedesco replied, “My father asks the same question. But, I am not special. I am only just working with the hand I was dealt. My story is not interesting or unique.” The gentleman who asked the question disagreed with her, as did most of the attendees.

Then, I asked Ms. Tedesco what drew her to photography. She replied, “It is a long story. I was an English major and it was the summer break. My advisor called to tell me that the English class I wanted was unavailable and that they’d put me in photography. I said ‘WHAT!’ I took the class anyway, and the rest is history.”

Ms. Tedesco has reminded me of the strength that we sometimes do not realize we have until we look back on what we have experienced. At an early age, I had to take care of my mom because she has multiple physical disabilities that seemed to have developed overnight and the doctors called premature aging syndrome. I don’t think they really knew what had happened to my mom. I did what I needed to do, as Ms. Tedesco has done what she needed to do. It took many years and many friends to convince me that I had shown great strength and courage, even, in taking care of my mom and by default, my family. Looking back, I agree. At the time, I was just surviving. I have come to recognize that many people feel the same way: they are just surviving and doing what anyone else would do with the same situation, so what they are doing is not special. But, it is special.

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

Posted in Conventions | 3 Comments »

Regional Convention 2006 a Blast!!

Posted by alphachinu on March 20, 2006

Our chapter got back from the 2006 New England Regional Convention in Boston. Can you imagine a better place to be on St. Patrick’s Day?! Anyway, it was great. There were good speakers and presentations. The fellowship with other chapters was amazing! And, the whole experience is something we will all remember for a long time.

Thank you to the chapter for allowing us to represent you.

We will be uploading information from the presentations soon.

We were introduced to the 2006-2008 Honors Topic, The Global Dynamics of Power: Gods, Gold, and Glory. It promises to be a great topic for the coming year.

Have a great day! Please check back often for updates on the chapter. We hope to post at least one message per day!

Jennifer Cragen
Public Relations Secretary

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