SGSC Honors Society Awarded Top Honors

South Georgia State College (SGSC) walked away with several awards at the Phi Theta Kappa Georgia Region Spring Regional Convention held recently in Athens, GA. Eight SGSC students and two advisors, Amy Hancock and Ame Wilkerson, from the Douglas and Waycross campuses attended this year’s convention.

Honors in Action Award
(L-R: Martin Bell, Okefenokee Swamp Park General Manager; Ronesea Styles, Alpha Rho Omega Chapter President; and Don Berryhill, Instructor of Okefenokeeology at Okefenokee Swamp Park) The Alpha Rho Omega Chapter President accepts the “Honors In Action” award for the Chapter’s efforts in engaging honors students in actions that foster student success and leadership


    
Both SGSC Chapters were again designated as Five Star Chapters, the highest level a Chapter can achieve. The SGSC chapters include Kappa Sigma on the Douglas campus and Alpha Rho Omega on the Waycross campus.

Each year Phi Theta Kappa Chapters are required to complete two projects: a College Project to be completed in consultation with the college administration and an Honors in Action project based on an Honors Study topic which Phi Theta Kappa designs to engage honors students in actions that foster student success and leadership.

Alpha Rho Omega garnered an award for its Honors in Action project with the highest score in the region for that particular theme. According to Hancock, “The current topic for the Honors Study program is Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration. It involves research on a specific theme and then an action project chosen based upon the chapter's research.”

At the Waycross Campus, Alpha Rho Omega chose Theme 4: Exploring the Natural Environment. After researching the preservation of the natural environment for future generations, the members collaborated with Okefenokee Swamp Park to learn more about sustainability at the park and what was being doing to promote ecotourism and the process of going green. The chapter chose to present an informative talk by Mr. Don Berryhill, who is currently the instructor for the popular Okefenokeeology class held on location at the Okefenokee Swamp Park, and Mr. Jed Thigpen, Assistant Manager of the Park. The session was held on the Waycross campus and students, faculty, staff, and community members were invited to attend. Mr. Berryhill presented information about the history of the park and what was being done to sustain it for years to come. A question and answer session followed the presentation, along with a time to view the materials he brought from the swamp.

As part of the completion of the project, the chapter members wrote a summary of the event and submitted it into the Hallmark Awards program sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa. During the Spring Regional Convention, Alpha Rho Omega was presented the Distinguished Issue Award for Theme 4 in the Honors in Action category.

Honors in Action Award
The Alpha Rho Omega Chapter's Award for their achievements in Honors in Action

“Both chapters have worked extremely hard to earn the Five Star Chapter rating again. It takes a lot of time and effort by the students to accomplish all the steps needed to reach the goal each year,” Hancock says. “I am especially proud that the Alpha Rho Omega chapter felt this was an important topic to pursue and that they reached out to our partners at the Okefenokee Swamp Park to make the project work.” Only two other chapters out of the thirty-two chapters in Georgia were selected as a winner of a Distinguished Issue Award in one of the nine themes. The Kappa Sigma chapter also was honored with a Distinguished Chapter Officer team award at the convention.

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates, and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.