This is the blog of Beta Zeta Nu. We are a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa from CaƱada College, in Redwood City, California. Phi Theta Kappa is the International Honor Society of two year colleges.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Second Harvest Food Bank

On December 5th and 19th, Beta Zeta Nu and Beta Xi Eta (College of San Mateo) teamed up to help out Second Harvest, a local food bank dedicated to feeding the hungry with nutritious and wholesome foods, in the spirit of Chapters United. Eighteen members from both chapters sorted food from 9am until noon to be distributed to families struggling with low-wage jobs, growing housing costs and homelessness with dozens of volunteers from local high schools and the community.

Our tasks included largely of sorting individually donated food-like from the Healthy Food Drive Beta Zeta Nu did over the holidays. That food was arranged into boxes for people who needed it to take home. The other job we did was making little 3 lb. bags of fresh produce. One group on December 5th sorted pallet boxes of carrots in this manner. The group on December 19th did the same thing for eight pallet boxes of oranges.

Second Harvest’s efforts help feed low-income seniors as well as low-income volunteers who are helping others while helping themselves. Volunteer support is essential for Second Harvest to maintain efficient and cost effective services. Because of Phi Theta Kappa’s efforts and that of other volunteers, over 205,000 people a month are able to receive food. The food is distributed through our partnering agencies, their satellites, and through Second Harvest Food Bank’s directs service programs.

Second Harvest deeply thanks Phi Theta Kappa for the time we took to help them achieve their vision, "Providing food for people in need in our community," which has made a difference for many this holiday season.

We have now formed a partnership with Second Harvest and plan on doing one food-sorting session with them once a month.

The Giving Tree Holiday Gift Drive Update

On December 18, 2009, Tristan and Rene picked up all 50 gifts as result of our holiday drive, which was a success! This was only possible because all of the efforts of the members and officers in the chapter as well as the staff, faculty and students who participated. People helped the drive in different ways, ranging from spreading the word to buying a gift. This holiday drive(The Giving Tree)was part of an even greater holiday drive led by The Family Giving Tree organization that does this every year. According to one representative about 60,000 gifts were collected over all. All these gifts were Christmas gifts for thousands of unprivileged children.



Spring 2010 Peer Counseling

Canada College has made serious budget cuts and consequently let a most all of our counselors go. (we only have three left) If we do not step up and help, our fellow students will be at an unnecessary disadvantage as they struggle through an unfamiliar registration system and plan for their future..

Foreseeing this problem, Isaiah Roggow (co-president) and Paul Roscelli (head advisor) spoke with the VP of Student Services, Peter Barbatis, early in the fall semester and again in the last week school. Peter is doing some very creative things to help new students get into the classes that they need with the least hassle as possible!

That's where Phi Theta Kappa comes in. We are helping by attending scheduled New Student Counseling & Registration Sessions. We guide new students in navigating our web-based registration program, Websmart, for the first time. There are usually 15-20 students per session and the peer counselors float around assisting as needed. There is one facilitator of the session, a counselor, that would be in charge.

The tasks include but not be limited to-helping with username/password issues, searching for classes, and registering for them. The greatest issue will be escalated demand and reduced supply of available and open classes. Most if not all classes in the convenient times are already full so much that students can't even waitlist for it. That translates to students being frustrated with having no options, having to take classes at CSM, or taking a class at an inconvenient time. Part of peer counselor’s job is to soothe people’s frustrations with so little available options.

We will have three peer counselors per session. The benefits for are many: helping your fellow future classmates, being a face for PTK and serve as its representative, and the privilege to say on university and scholarship applications that you participated in this event. The efforts put forth by our peer counselors may be the difference between someone getting a class or giving up on college.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Every year, Phi Theta Kappa and the Office of the President of Canada College engage in a joint effort to host an event that honors 200+ local high school students that earn a 3.5 GPA or higher at their respective schools. There are five such schools in and around our area, and many of their graduates seriously take Canada into consideration in regards to furthering their educational goals.

Isaiah was placed in charge and created a team to help him when needed. He was in constant contact with the College president’s office about getting the student’s names, their medals, the food, and other logistics.

The Afternoon of Academic Excellence is always held one week before our college’s graduation, which sets it to a Friday in late may. Approximately 80 high school students RSVP’d, but we ended up receiving and honoring 130 students instead. Fortunately, Isaiah and his team planned for this and no hiccups were experienced. Add to that friends and family, we ended up packing out the entire theatre.

This was a very challenging event to plan for. Isaiah had to get the names of all students from our five satellite high schools that scored a 3.5 GPA or higher and then get invitation letters to each of them. Each student had to RSVP to their career center and then I had Phi Theta Kappa members gather them at the high schools. It was the only way, as real RSVPs would have been extremely expensive and was outside our budget, which was already generously given by the college president’s office. Then there was the logistics of food, awards, and choosing a keynote speaker. We planned months in advance and due to our diligence, the Afternoon of Academic Excellence went off perfectly and with no problems. Our college President, Tom Mohr, was incredibly pleased with both my performance, my team, and of Phi Theta Kappa.

This event is incredibly important to the surrounding high schools. The Afternoon of Academic Excellence showcases to the high school students, their parents, and the administration of the schools the high quality that has been the norm at Canada College. Everyone likes to know from time to time that they are appreciated and valued. Many of these students have the potential to be first generation college attendees. This is most likely the first time they were to receive official recognition from a college for all their hard work over the course of high school. This event provides an opportunity to show these young people how much their efforts are appreciated. The students of Phi Theta Kappa believe that success begets success, and when these students come away from this event, they will have caught a glimpse of what they are working so hard and sacrificing so much for.

Afternoon of Academic Excellence is also a great opportunity to showcase the Canada College to prospective students that may not have a very positive image of what a community college is or of the students that attend one. This may be their first and only exposure to that. This event is one of the best student recruitment programs
There is still a cultural stigma surrounding community colleges. Whenever an event like this is held and is as successful as we, the students of a community college, made it, the image of community colleges gets a little more polish than it was when these teens entered. This is the singular event of the year does a fine job to ensure that community colleges, our nation’s ‘best kept secret,’ are a little less well-kept.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Healthy Food Drive

In conjunction with the Healthy Food Drive, on Dec 5th a group of 8 members from Beta Zeta Nu and Beta Xi Eta sorted food to be distributed to families struggling with low-wage jobs, growing housing costs and homelessness. Their efforts helped feed low-income seniors, as well as low-income volunteers who are helping others while helping themselves. Volunteer support is essential for Second Harvest to maintain efficient and cost effective services. Because of them and other volunteers, over 205,000 people a month are able to receive food. .

Second Harvest is deeply we appreciative of the time PTK took to help them achieve their vision: "Providing food for people in need in our community." PTK's gift of time has made a difference for many in our community.

Year round, the Food Bank is always in need of volunteer help and we plan you will be able to join them again. We look forward to that continued partnership.