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PTK’s Beta Alpha Xi Earns Honors in Action Hallmark Award

By Lacey Holstein
Overwhelmed and Tired Students Can Turn to Drugs

Last fall, Beta Alpha Xi’s, Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Chapter, conducted research for a presentation that awarded the organization with the prestigious Honors in Action Hallmark Award.

The project itself was centered on the PTK and MCCCD Honors Program’s theme, “Culture of Competition.”  PTK chapters nationally addressed the positive and negative impacts of competition in our daily lives, and Beta Alpha Xi chose to study how the pressure for academic success led to the rise of non-prescription drug use on college campuses to gain a competitive edge over peers.

According to Beta Alpha Xi’s research, many students decide to take short cuts to succeed or simply become overwhelmed by the pressure to maintain a high GPA and excel in their classes. As a result, they often resort to self-medicating with stimulant drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, thinking that they are both effective and safe. Research shows them to be neither, and quite high-risk.

This prompted Beta Alpha Xi to pursue this topic for its Honors in Action (HIA) Project. To spread awareness on the dangers of these study drugs, the organization engaged in three full months of research to assemble an educational outreach program for students. This research weighed the pros and cons of the use of these prescription drugs.

Marylyn Bradley, Chapter Advisor for the EMCC Chapter, described the process of managing the project, “This [process] took place through the summer and fall; it was a major undertaking.” It was a significant effort on the part of the chapter in terms of research, analysis, addressing of a community need, and reporting on project actions to the PTK Honors Society.

The HIA Project educational outreach program concluded that the increased risk of addiction and altered brain development has resulted in a public health problem among college students.

The efforts put into this project demonstrated scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship- qualities that earned the EMCC Chapter with the Honors in Action Hallmark Award.

Miguel Galarza, Communications Officer for the EMCC Chapter, said, “We were very successful. It was packed on the day of our presentation; we had 110 people, the largest audience ever for our chapter.” Overall, he regarded the chapter’s research and presentation as the best project of the year.

The EMCC Chapter presented their findings on campus to Honors students, faculty, community members, and other student body guests.

For more information on the EMCC Phi Theta Kappa Beta Alpha Xi Chapter and its work, go to the following links at: http://www.estrellamountain.edu/academics/phi-theta-kappa and http://www2.ptk.org/hallmarks/awards.htm.