By Lyndee Johns
Members of BYU’s Division I chapter of Phi Kappa Phi don’t just go for the gold—they push for the platinum.
Phi Kappa Phi is, as the BYU pamphlet boasts, “the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.” Juniors in the top 7.5 percent and seniors and grad students in the top 10 percent of their classes are invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, where they are encouraged to participate in chapter activities and be on the student board.
And, as chapter president and college assistant professor Dr. Deborah Himes puts it, BYU’s chapter is “doing something right.”
The BYU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has recently received the 2019–2020 Circle of Excellence Platinum award. This prestigious award shows that BYU has met chapter requirements, has both social and service events, and has an active student board.
And according to Himes, it is the student board that makes the chapter what it is.
“It’s a student-driven organization,” says Himes. “As the faculty members, or more the faculty/staff, we help keep things running. But we try to help them set the vision . . . We have some of the brightest students on campus, and they can make a lot happen. So we will give them opportunities to do that.”
Run by two elected vice presidents, the student board plans chapter activities. Last year, Phi Kappa Phi partnered with My Story Matters to meet refugee families living in Utah, and to record their stories. The families were later given a bound book that contained their stories, and a family picture. “It was very impactful for the kids to see them realizing that their story matters, their story is important,” says Himes.
Phi Kappa Phi’s current plans for the semester include an interdisciplinary Jeopardy event, and partnering with Dahlia’s Hope—an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking transition back into healthy living.
One of the chapter’s goals for the new year includes running a successful initiation banquet, where the Circle of Excellence award will be announced. Their other goals? “Supporting the students and their service and social activities, and, you know, trying to find ways that we can do good in the world,” says Himes.
Here’s to BYU’s Phi Kappa Phi, and may their programs stay platinum.