Greetings from Melanie Arpaio, Psi Beta President

I am honored that the National Council is in allowing me to serve as your President this year.  Since becoming your President, my friends jokingly refer to me as “queen,” so the Regional VP’s and Past President must be loyal members of my court.  The photo shows me and Katherine Wickes, our current President-Elect, in our crowns.  Needless to say, you have serious but fun leaders of your honor society!  However, even though we are enjoying ourselves, foremost in our list of responsibilities is our service to you, our chapter advisors and student members.

I’ve had a very active first few months, and I’d like to share some highlights with you.  Psi Beta’s National Council Annual Meeting was held at APA in August.  There are worse fates than traveling to Hawaii to have a meeting!  In spite of the tropical atmosphere and ocean view, we were able to conduct some very important business that will affect our membership in many positive ways.  The Council has decided, on a trial basis, to move our Annual Meeting to APS in 2014, meaning we are going to be encouraging as many of you as possible to bring delegations to the APS in May, in San Francisco.  APS is a research-focused conference, and since community college psychology programs are becoming more research oriented, we thought we’d see if we can get both participation from our chapters and increased cooperation from APS in welcoming community college students into the fold.  We will still have our Executive Committee maintain an active presence at APA, which will be held in Washington, DC in August of 2014.

We also brainstormed on ways to help increase the creation of new chapters, how to reactivate lapsed chapters, and how to best showcase the benefits of membership to future student members.  The Council has chosen an incentive program as a way to help you all support each other in our efforts on behalf of our brilliant students.  So, I am happy to announce that if you, as a chapter advisor, are integral in referring a new chapter (or lapsed chapter) for activation, and the chapter does indeed join and initiate new members, you will receive a voucher good for $100 in merchandise from the Psi Beta online store.  We felt that this would enhance your students and your chapter, while helping to build membership in our national organization.  We do not, however, ask you to do this alone.  Our Regional VP’s are not just going to talk-the-talk; we will be walking the walk with you.  As part of our growth plan, our Regional VP’s have committed to making a number of direct contact phone calls and visits to chapters, potential chapters, and inactive chapters, to assist in your efforts as chapter advisors.   Many of our VP’s, as well as myself, are available to support your initiation ceremonies as guest speakers, to offer mentorship in terms of how to recruit new members or come up with appropriate activities for your chapters, or for just a phone call of encouragement and thanks for the hard work you do.  Please, call on us.  We all have an open-door policy and are eager to support you in any way we can!

To complete our business in Hawaii, we decided to have monthly video-conference meetings, rather than our typical quarterly phone calls.  The first couple of meetings were found to be logistically challenging, but we slogged through and had a very productive video meeting on November 1st.  We are indeed making the best use of technology possible.

In September, I attended the APA’s Education Leadership Conference, held at the beautiful Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, along with our Eastern VP, Samvel Jeshmaridian.  Together we collaborated with professionals from all over the United States, contributing to a deep discussion of ethics in all areas of psychology.  We ended the trip with a day spent on Capitol Hill, the day the government shut down!  In spite of that, we were able to meet with many senators and representatives, speaking for the Garrett Lee Smith Reauthorization Act, which provides funding to states and colleges for suicide prevention programs.  Professionally and personally, the trip was a success, with many senators and representatives agreeing to co-endorse the legislation which will allow this important funding to continue.

Finally, as part of my presidential year, I would like to make it my goal to increase our social networking visibility.  At this time, one of my students is working on setting up a Facebook account for Psi Beta National, as well as a Twitter account for us.  We would then encourage chapters with Facebooks and Twitters to affiliate with the national page(s)/account(s) under our umbrella.  If done correctly, the national organization can broadcast social networking messages to a wide range of advisors and students, with just a few mouse clicks.  Our students (and advisors) are increasingly making use of social networking as a way to communicate and keep in touch.  I believe our national organization should lead the way in creating a network that allows us to freely share our thoughts and ideas, creating a national dialogue and an enduring loyalty to the organization.

We have an exciting year ahead for us, and I hope you will all continue to be active and engaged participants as we set forth on a new pattern of growth and improvement.  As always, I wish you all a tremendous academic year with a restful winter break.  We are here for you, so please be in touch whenever you wish.

Looking Forward,

Melanie Arpaio, MA

President, Psi Beta National Council

marpaio@sussex.edu/201-317-9502
Shown below: President-elect Katherine Wickes (left), and National President Melanie Arpaio

Melanie A

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