By Barbara Arroio
Phi Theta Kappa members help keep the city of Tyler clean by “adopting a highway.”
“Obviously, it’s important for Tyler to see that college students take pride in the community, to see that we’re engaged with the community and helping out,” said Gigi Delk, sponsor for PTK.
Complying with TJC’s third promise, community service, 42 students volunteered to participate in the Phi Theta Kappa “Adopt-a-Highway” event on a hot summer day. Under the blazing sun and 90 degree temperature, the members gathered to clean Fifth Street form the Jersey Mike’s corner all the way east to CVS pharmacy, collecting 17 full bags of trash.
“We went to the highway that Phi Theta Kappa adopted, 5th street, and basically we just picked up the trash that people left there, bagged it all up and took it to recycle or just a regular trash can,” said Deont’a Osborne, TJC student and officer for Phi Theta Kappa.
As expected, the action had an impact on Tyler citizens who were driving by while the students were cleaning the highway.
“Many students reported getting ‘thumbs up’ from passing motorists and thanks from area businesses along our adopted street,” said Delk. “So we noticed that when you’re out there picking trash up, it makes people who see us think twice and instead of throwing their trash out of the window, they would keep it until they found a trash can.”
The initiative came from previous PTK members who were not satisfied with the conditions of certain areas around TJC.
“It started with a group of students around ten years ago. They came in and were talking about the trash when you came into those outside parking lots, how stuff was just piled up and they thought it was a shame that our grounds were so pretty and other places were like that,” said Delk.
Participating in community service not only benefits Tyler, but also provides a way to interact with other students.
“Service projects are the way that our officer team and all of our students that are involved in Phi Theta Kappa bond together,” said Delk. “And that interaction between them when doing community service makes all the difference in the world.
The student organization plans on doing the “Adopt-a-Highway” event again throughout the year, but don’t have a specific date for the event yet. The event is open for any student who wants to join, not only Phi Theta Kappa members.
Phi Theta Kappa has meetings every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Apache Rooms.