PTK Shoots for the Stars with College-wide Initiative

Oct.15, 2021--DCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society has set its sights on earning Five Star Chapter status. But they want to do it in a way that serves the College community – now and well into the future.

To achieve five-star status, PTK must meet rigorous requirements, including campus engagement and regional and international involvement. PTK must also take on a project that will strengthen the chapter’s relationship with College administration and serve the campus and local community. And after brainstorming a range of options last semester, PTK members are ready to launch an initiative that they’re hoping will become part of the DCC campus culture: the PTK Hygiene Item Drive. 

“We thought long and hard about a community service project that could truly be beneficial to students and their families who may be struggling,” said J. Emile Jones, a liberal arts and humanities student and PTK chapter president. “Over the summer, we were able to connect with several community action groups to research the most challenging aspects of their gathering activities. Time and again, the answer was a lack of hygiene item donations.”

While food, clothing and household items are often donated in abundance, community action groups often solicit essential hygiene items. It became clear to PTK members that this was where they could do the most good – and take advantage of the strong culture of community that already existed at the College.

“The Pantry is an excellent example of the strong sense of caring we have here at DCC,” said Jones. “And PTK wants to be a shining example of all of the things that make this College such an amazing first step on the path to a lifetime of achievement. So, it was a no-brainer to seek partnership with them on our project. Like the community action groups, The Pantry regularly experienced a shortage in the hygiene item donations, and from this, the PTK Hygiene Item Drive was born.”

Jones and PTK members hope students, staff and faculty become engaged and excited about this drive as a way to show school spirit and commitment to each other as a community. 

“Ideally, we would like this drive to continue and become our legacy at DCC,” said Kendall MacDonald, a liberal arts and humanities student and PTK vice president. “The truth of the matter is that we are all in this together. If one of us is in need, then we are all in need. We hope the DCC community will get involved because this is for us and about us. A simple donation of basic hygiene items like toothpaste, deodorant, soap or lotion can give someone the gift of confidence and comfort. And that is something that everyone deserves.”

PTK members have identified ten collection zones around campus: one each in the Center for Business and Industry, the Allyn J Washington Center for Science and Art, DCC@Fishkill, and in Taconic, Falcon, Dutchess, Drumlin and Bowne halls; and three in Hudson Hall. Donation containers will be in place on Monday, Oct. 25. Items needed include toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant and nail clippers. Financial support for The Pantry can also be made through the DCC Foundation website. 

In addition to serving the DCC community, PTK members see this initiative as a way to ensure that future generations of students will be able to reap the benefits of being a five-star chapter. 

“To achieve five-star status, our chapter will take on Honors in Action projects, which will allow our students to gain valuable skills such as research, leadership, community action engagement and project management,” said Jones. “We owe it to our current and future members to provide them with great opportunities for success and the best that Phi Theta Kappa has to offer.”

While setting their eyes on that five-star “prize” may seem a lofty goal, Navina Hooker, professor of English and PTK advisor, knows that this group of students is going to give it their all.

“Our members have already shown how focused they are about achieving their academic goals,” she said. “I am quite certain they are going apply that same level of energy and passion to ensure the success of this drive and ultimately earn five-star status.”

Questions? Contact J. Emile Jones at jacqsun.jones@sunydutchess.edu and Kendall MacDonald at kendall.macdonald@sunydutchess.edu.