Honor societies encourage community service and provide scholarships to members

Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) are two clubs at Pierce College that help students serve the community and get scholarships for higher-level education.

AGS is an honor society and statewide organization of community college societies since 1926 that serves the community both in and outside the campuses.

“It serves as an extracurricular activity for members,” said Pamela Hayati, president of the AGS society. “Most universities do look for extracurricular activities when you apply to them.”

Apha, gamma and sigma are three Greek words that stand for excellence, knowledge and wisdom.

In order to join the club, students need to have minimum GPA of 3.0. On the other hand, if interested students have just recently graduated from high school, they need to have a GPA of 3.5 from their high school transcript.

There is also a $10 semesterly fee for joining the club.

“I knew that I wanted to be involved in something that is more important than a cooking club,” said Isaac Hernandez, 18, anthropology major, who joined the club this semester. “I feel good about it and it is very important for me.”

AGS usually has 100 to 150 members, and they all have to do minimum of 12 hours of community service.

There are different activities and programs both within and external to Pierce that coordinate with AGS: fundraisers for different organizations, carnivals, bake sales, food drives for shelters, toy drives, and Teacher Appreciation and Staff Appreciation banquets.

Once participants of AGS complete their 12 hours of community service and become official members, they get transcript recognition, which is a positive point for their transferring, according to Hayati.

“It gives you an extra point when you are going to transfer to the universities,” said Afsatu Metzger, 19, one of the board members. “Besides that, it keeps my grades up to stay in the club.”

PTK, the other honor society at Pierce, is an international society with the main goal of providing scholarships to its members. The club raises funds that amount to approximately $33 million per year to give out as scholarships to two-year college students.

Phi, theta and kappa translate to wisdom, aspiration and purity, respectively.

Members of PTK have to complete at least 12 units before gaining eligibility to join the club, and pay a one-time fee of $80.

The monetary investment breaks down to $50 for dues to PTK International and $30 for the academic regalia purchase, according to Professor of Criminal Justice Kathy Oborn, PTK adviser.

“I would say that the $80 investment to join PTK is well worth,” she said. “It is an organization that speaks loudly.”

Members of the PTK can be actively involved with the club’s activities both on- and off-campus, but they aren’t required to do so.

“No member of PTK is required to do all of those activities,” said Oborn. “They can still be members. This is the main difference between AGS and PTK.”

Oborn said PTK members get transcript recognition as well. Any community service and activities members participate in will also be provided in their transcripts.

Most of the time, applications to universities in the northeast, East Coast and midwest have special boxes for members of PTK to get scholarships, according to Oborn.

“PTK is all about scholarships and helping students to go to the next level,” said Oborn. “But AGS is more [of a] service organization. It is a great thing to be a member of both of the honor societies.”

Students who are interested in gaining membership to AGS can fill out an application online through their website at http://pierceags.webs.com. PTK applications are available in Oborn’s office, located in the first floor of the Library in Room 1.





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