PTKAW founders event celebrates Washburn chapter

Brittany Wright

Washburn University introduced its newest academic organization, Phi Theta Kappa Alumni of Washburn University with a celebratory Founders event Nov. 20.

The organization’s Washburn chapter was officially registered this past spring and began accepting new members in March. PTKAW is a student organization that supports members of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society in transferring to Washburn from two-year schools, such as technical schools and community colleges.

“This event commemorates our registration with Washburn as student organization,” said Paul Flumen, secretary and founder of PTKAW. “Our primary purpose today is to earn as much recognition for the efforts of our founding members as possible.”

The celebration included an introduction by the society’s president, Thaina Jensen, as well as several presentations by current members and alumni.

James Barraclough, director of undergraduate initiatives, also shared words of welcome and provided a guest acknowledgement. Barraclough serves as an advisor for PTKAW.

Founded in Missouri in 1918, Phi Theta Kappa originally catered only to women at two-year colleges in the state.

Amy Reinhardt, Washburn alumnus and PTKAW founding member, served as the event’s key note speaker.

“I took this time to talk about my membership in Phi Theta Kappa and how it’s helped me grow professionally and personally,” Reinhardt said. “I’m ecstatic that we finally have an alumni chapter at Washburn.”

Students who are interested in joining PTKAW must have first been a member of the Phi Theta Kappa society at a two-year school. At junior colleges, membership eligibility is based on a 3.5 GPA with a particular number of credit hours.

Members who decide to transfer to Washburn fill out an application and pay a nominal fee to their chapter each semester. Member involvement in PTKAW on campus may be minimal, but is highly encouraged.

Flumen says the number one goal of the chapter is to promote campus involvement and encourage Phi Theta Kappa members to attend Washburn. The organization volunteered at Transfer Day, Washburn’s Transfer Student Orientation, strengthening the relationship between the university and junior colleges.

“Volunteer opportunities around the community build a name for ourselves campus-wide,” Flumen said.

Past volunteerism includes a shoe drive that benefited Haitian people who were in a disaster area. PTKAW hopes to organize similar volunteer opportunities each semester. The oraganization is currently considering a five kilometer run on campus.

“PTKAW is an exceptional bridge from a community college to a university level setting,” said Kristen Kogl, vice president of public relations for PTKAW. “It equips you with what you need to succeed in academics and to have a network of people that you can grow with.”

PTKAW assists two-year students in completing the Phi Theta Kappa scholarship application and works with students to make them more competitive for admission to four-year schools. The organization’s biggest reward is to see its alumni working at a university level and representing the society.