Parkland clubs highlighted at Student Activities Fair

Zach Trueblood

Staff Writer

No start of fall semester is complete without the annual convocation. This year was no different, except for some of the activities included.

This year’s convocation was held inside the Student Union and outside near the cafeteria area on Aug. 27. There were several activities in place, such as a bungee run and a mechanical bull.

Activity Manager Chaya Sandler coordinated many aspects of the event. She was able to bring together college resources and many student clubs and organizations in what is known as the Student Activities Fair.

Sandler described her main role in regards to student clubs and organizations.

“My role is to provide a connection between the club leadership and the college. When student clubs are looking for ways to program events on campus, or reach the student population I am available to meet with them and brainstorm on the best way to go about achieving their goals,” Sandler stated.

With over 30 active clubs, the Student Activities Fair was a way for these clubs to showcase what they are about. Free items and food were given away, along with information about upcoming activities for the clubs and organizations.

“Parkland College students are being pulled in many directions, and carving time out for oneself to explore what really excites them is an important privilege for college students. When you become part of the workforce, if you have these out of classroom experiences to draw on, you can become a great leader and team member,” Sandler explained. “Being trusted with Parkland College resources is a great responsibility, and the students who look for ways to get more involved benefit from building those stronger ties to Parkland College.”

Zach Hartley is a general studies major. He has been searching for a club or organization to join and came searching in the student life office shortly before the Student Activities Fair. He explained why he wanted to become involved.

“I’m new to the Champaign-Urbana area. I moved here from Elgin. I’m really looking to connect to some other students. I want more than just the typical class grind. I want some camaraderie and refreshing, social activity,” Hartley said.

Hartley was a member of Phi Theta Kappa when he attended school in Elgin. He plans on attempting to join the Parkland chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (Alpha Psi Eta).

Phi Theta Kappa was present at the Student Activities Fair. They were welcoming new students and explaining how induction into the honors society works. President Emeritus Jenny Olmstead was also on hand. After delivering a speech during the convocation ceremony she helped man the table alongside other PTK members.

As President Emeritus, Olmstead is helping with an easy transition into a new officer team for Phi Theta Kappa. She served as president for one year previously, while serving as chapter president she was also regional president.

Olmstead remembered fondly one her favorite moments as a member of Phi Theta Kappa wherein she attended the Honors Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. She was able to network with many other likeminded students and her hope for the future was renewed. She also provided some parting wisdom for new and returning students.

“Get involved. Show your passions. Don’t be afraid to look stupid, that’s how you make friends. No one is perfect and professional at every moment,” Olmstead stated. “Once you express yourself in a group like a student club or organization, you can really figure out your goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa has many upcoming activities planned for fall semester. They are especially active in October which is Civility Month. They also have an Honors in Action project that has a focus on health and medicine.

Another club that is focusing on health and medicine is the Respiratory Therapy Club. They also attended the Student Activities Fair.

Their new President Mitch Corlas is on his 13 month with the respiratory care program. He served as vice president of the club previously but this is his first semester as president. Corlas explained what he liked most about the respiratory care program.

“I enjoy the critical care aspect. I’m not limited to the same confines or the same room every day. With respiratory, I get to go through the entire hospital. It’s good for those that consider themselves an adrenaline junkie. You see patients that really need your care and gives you an opportunity to get hands on and see something you wouldn’t see every day,” Corlas said.

Corlas said  the Respiratory Therapy Club becomes very active in the fall, especially during October. The last week of October is Respiratory Care Week. They’ll have tables set up and information available on an assortment of pulmonary issues.

They’ll also be part of the Health Professions Open House in November. Interested parties can come in and check out the most current technology and devices the health professions are utilizing.

“Students can come in and tinker with the devices we use every day in our field of work,” Corlas stated.

Even though every student in the respiratory care program is automatically a member, the club is open to all students. Their main goal is to raise awareness for pulmonary issues.

The club also helped with implementing information about the new tobacco ban on campus. Corlas is interested in a project where they could possibly analyze the amount of cigarette butts now as compared to a year from now. The point would be to provide numbers and tangible evidence for the support of the tobacco free campus.

Another Health Professions student organization is the SADHA or the Student component of the American Dental Hygiene Association. The organization is specifically for first and second year dental hygiene students. It can have anywhere from 40-60 students.

Peg Boyce is the co-director of the dental hygiene program and oversees much of what the SADHA does. Boyce described some of the activities the student organization participates in throughout the year.

“The club has been very involved collaborating with SmileHealthy, a local not-for-profit dental organization that was started by one of our Parkland dental hygiene grads. We volunteer with them, we fundraise for their projects and we make donations to their organization,” Boyce stated. “We also collaborate with them to host a free dental day in April. In April of 2016 we will host our fourth “Day of Healthy Smiles” where local dentists and oral surgeons will come into our dental hygiene clinic and provide fillings and extractions for patients that cannot afford care.”

These events have led to the SADHA winning Student Organization of the Year for the past three years. Boyce also detailed some of the activities and events that are planned for this upcoming fall semester.

“This fall we will be participating in the CarXCrazyK supporting PromiseHealthcare/FrancesNelson/SmileHealthy. We sell sponsorship and add sponsors names to the back of t-shirts we wear during the mudrun. We have raised $2,000 in t-shirt sponsorship already this fall. That money will be used to buy supplies for the dental day,” Boyce said. “We also participate in college activities such as the pumpkin carving contest. New for our club this fall is an effort to recycle toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, floss containers and outer packaging. Colgate sponsors the project and we have collection boxes in the student union and in the hallway by our dental hygiene clinic. We urge the college to help us collect dental recyclables.”

There are many clubs and organizations for interested students to choose from. Various recruitment events will be held throughout the year to provide more information. Interested students can also visit the Office of Student Life in U111 to obtain an up to date sheet of club names and advisor contact information.