Volunteer Spotlight – February 2017

Feb 1, 2017

pattersonLaurel Patterson
Slippery Rock University

Chapter Position: President and Public Relations Officer

University Position: Secretary, Student Development

Years of Service to the Chapter: 3 years

Degree(s)/Discipline: Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies with a focus on communication and environment

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? When I saw there was a need, I volunteered.

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? Since its birth in 2004, our Slippery Rock chapter has conducted book drives and had students apply for Phi Kappa Phi awards with at least one awarded. There's been at least one initiation each year with only one year missed. And, of course, there's been meetings and socials. These are all activities of which to be proud. But, I see us doing even more in the future. We have great potential yet untapped.

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you?
 I personally have always valued knowledge and wisdom. I often marvel at how much there is to learn and how much has been accomplished. And then, of course, using knowledge and wisdom to do beneficial things just makes total sense. Phi Kappa Phi has those values and assists or rewards people who use their intellect to benefit others. This was really brought home to me when I attended the 2014 convention. Listening to the experiences of those who had received the various awards and learning what they were doing thanks to that support was impressive and inspiring.

The love of knowledge is obvious in some students in post-secondary education. They have curiosity and inquisitiveness. Rather than avoid studying and exercising their minds, they are hungry, eager to learn. These are the students who are invited to Phi Kappa Phi. These are the students who Phi Kappa Phi rewards because they have that love of knowledge and with Phi Kappa Phi’s help can begin a journey of doing great things for fellow humans. Phi Kappa Phi is an organization that puts its money where its mouth is—Phi Kappa Phi helps gifted people generate gifts for others.

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer?
 Playing whatever small part I can in helping students succeed. Arranging GRE strategy sessions, encouraging students to apply for scholarships, providing opportunities for them to serve—are all things that excite me. As they take advantage of these opportunities, they benefit and grow. I may never see the final outcome—one of our students becoming a doctor, or serving impoverished people in another country, or becoming an amazing artist—but, knowing that I could be instrumental in their steps along the way is fulfilling. My delight comes from helping students take their love of learning as far as they can as they, hopefully, help others along the way.

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer? First of all, don’t be afraid to become an officer. I’ve found in any organization that the more someone is involved in service in an organization, the more they benefit not only others but also themselves. Somehow they always manage to grow and benefit more than the less active persons. Whether it’s learning new skills, or just being noticed because they’re in the front lines, activity fosters benefits in a circular way.

Second, try to be your best example of what Phi Kappa Phi is. Others will follow, and even if they don’t, you can’t regret your choice because Phi Kappa Phi has a fantastic mission worthy of personal practice.

What are your hobbies? I have a deep interest in ecopsychology, how nature benefits humans both physically and mentally. I have enjoyed hiking, sewing, roller skating, writing and public speaking. I’ve raised homing pigeons, chickens and guinea fowl, and I have two cats. I collect post cards and wheat pennies. An area I’d like to expand is nature photography.

Where are you from?
 I grew up in the Pittsburgh, PA, suburbs. Now I live north of Pittsburgh in a more rural area.

Click here to see Laurel's resume.