Growth, giving play major roles at Omicron Gamma chapter, Iowa State
This is an exciting time to be part of the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State. 24 new faculty members were brought in for the 2014-2015 school year, spread across the five units in Iowa State's College of Human Sciences: food science and human nutrition, kinesiology, human development and family studies, education and apparel, events and hospitality management. Growth in each of these units has meant that existing faculty were stretched thin, and the new hires will both lighten the load and provide the college with an injection of fresh new ideas.
Omicron Gamma Officers in 2014-15
Dr. Krista Van Hooser-Perin (left), chapter adviser for Kappa Omicron Nu's Omicron Gamma chapter at Iowa State, believes the expansion in staff will have a positive impact on the chapter and its members. "Our college has experienced incredible growth over the past several years," says Dr. Van Hooser-Perin. "We are attracting high quality students with a wide range of professional interests – and these new faculty positions will allow this trend to continue. We are seeing a greater variety in majors within our own chapter, which has led to the generation of new ideas for programs and projects. It is exciting to see the growth this variety brings to our membership."
Omicron Gamma initiated 27 new members this fall and expects to induct a similar number in the spring semester. This year's chapter programming focuses primarily on enhancing job-related skills – including personal security – both online and in life. During the fall semester, the Iowa State chapter invited Matt Sullivan, an Information Technology professional specializing in internet security to discuss methods of safeguarding personal information – from passwords and encryption to Facebook and LinkedIn settings. They also invited a member of the Iowa State University Police force to instruct the chapter on personal safety techniques, including preventative measures (traveling in groups) and reactive measures (strikes to use on attackers). Tricia Neppl, an assistant professor at Iowa State specializing in domestic violence, provided insight into identifying incidences of domestic violence and ways to assist victims.
Programming has also focused on professional appearance and job interviewing skills. Loni Pringnitz, the director of career services in the College of Human Sciences, provided a job fair preparation session, including strategies for resume preparation and approaching potential employers during a job fair. Alumni services were invited to discuss methods for professional networking post-graduation, and ways to stay current in the ever-changing marketplace.
This year's officers have brought community service to a new level within the chapter. In October, Jessica Fox and Kelsy Horner coordinated participation in the United Way Bake sale. Members prepared over 7 dozen treats and staffed sale tables over the course of the 3-day sale. KON members assisted in raising nearly $1200 for United Way! In addition, with the winter months approaching, the officers wanted to bring warmth to children in the community who might be lacking in weather-appropriate clothing. They planned a winter gear drive with the goal of collecting hats and gloves for Kate Mitchell Elementary School. Nathan Davis, the chapter's representative on the Iowa State University student council, approached the Iowa State University Dean of Students office and invited them to partner with the Omicron Gamma chapter. This partnership has led to an expansion of the drive to include faculty and staff holiday parties: instead of exchanging "Secret Santa" or "White Elephant" gifts, faculty and staff members will donate new or gently used items to the winter gear drive. Hannah Swanson, the project chair, hopes this partnership will allow the chapter to provide not only hats and gloves, but also coats and boots to both Kate Mitchell Elementary School and Ames Emergency Residence Project.
Prepping Rice Crispie treats for the United Way Bake Sale.
For the past several years, the Gamma Omicron chapter has partnered with Youth and Shelter Services to host "Teen Maze," an experiential learning event which delivers powerful information to middle school students from the surrounding counties. Students from 12 area schools navigate the Maze, stopping for interactive learning opportunities in areas that include
- Health and Wellness (tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and their health and legal consequences)
- Relationships (bullying, dating, parenting, and STI and pregnancy prevention)
- Mental Health (suicide prevention, body image, and emotional vocabulary), and
- Employment (youth employment, financial literacy, and money management)
Teen Maze demonstrates the emotional, physical, and financial realities that both positive and negative life choices may bring. Students experience how an entire life can be affected by any decision as choices and consequences compound. This creative and interactive venue allows students to practice healthy decision-making, explore critical information and connect what has already been taught to real-world situations. It offers a controlled, safe environment for young people to experience life choices and the consequences of risk-taking behaviors with access to trained professionals who provide accurate, age-appropriate and evidence-based information. Kappa Omicron Nu's Omicron Gamma chapter members support this effort by participating in a variety of capacities, from leading groups of students through the activities to participating in the interactive role-play settings.
Kappa Omicron Nu is proud to recognize the efforts of the Omicron Gamma chapter, its officers and adviser for promoting excellence, for demonstrating leadership and compassion on campus, and for taking part in important mentoring and learning programs for younger students. Well done, Iowa State!