Beta Sigma Tau members honoured for leadership and commitment
Beta Sigma Tau, SAIT’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter, for 2019 took on a research project to determine the needs of the Calgary Military Family Resource Centre and Veterans’ Association Food Bank — but they did much more than crunch the numbers. Members volunteered their time to support a variety of activities including their annual Christmas party. Rigel Raju, SAIT business student and current president of Beta Sigma Tau, says society members have become so passionate about the cause, they’ve arranged for their work to benefit the veterans’ group long past the planned one-year project.
It’s this kind of energy and commitment that demonstrates why Beta Sigma Tau was chosen to receive the 2020 President’s Student Leadership Award.
“We build community on campus and within the rest of Calgary,” says Raju. “One way we do it is through our annual community project called ‘Honors in Action.’ In 2018 we worked with a brain injury group. This year it was veterans. That’s what drew me to join. PTK provided me with volunteer opportunities as well as work experience I couldn’t get anywhere else.”
Building community on campus is also an equal priority for the society. One huge success has been the peer mentorship program. Chapter members worked hard on a number of fronts to increase participation in a program where senior students help new ones. An unintended but pleasant consequence of the program, is how it has enabled mentors and mentees to keep in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic disruption.
“Our members added flexibility to the mentorship program,” says Brenda Gee, Beta Sigma Tau’s chapter advisor. “They introduced texting and video chat. This enables the first-year students more flexibility to feel comfortable within the mentor-mentee relationship. I’m so proud of our students’ accomplishments. They increased the number of participants from 60 to 482 in 2018-2019.”
Membership in SAIT’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the world’s largest international honour society is open to students who excel in academics with a grade point average from 3.8 in any semester, while at SAIT. While academic success is at the foundation, Raju says a sense of community is at the real heart of PTK.
And, Raju adds, the society provides members with a range of benefits. “Students join for different reasons. Some for the academic recognition. There are also scholarships and leadership courses. There's something for everyone.”
Receiving the President’s Student Leadership Award is one of many accolades the SAIT chapter has received in recent months; including receiving regional Gold for the Greater Northwest and international PTK awards.
Gee and Raju say they are proud that SAIT has recognized the 1,500 Beta Sigma Tau members. That’s how many members have joined since the chapter was formed in 2010. “Once you’re a member of PTK you’re a member for life,” says Raju. “When our members become alumni they are doubly connected to SAIT forever.”