By Carl Speaks
David walks into class and realizes he’s forgotten about a test and didn’t bring a scantron. His professor tells him to hurry and get one but he doesn’t have any money. Without this crucial tool, he will receive a zero on his test grade. Phi Theta Kappa has created the H.U.G.S. (Help Us Graduate Successfully) closet in order to provide for students like David.
TJC administration charged Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), international honors society, with finding ways to help students complete a degree.
“Phi Theta Kappa members observed students in need of basic necessities and school supplies on campus,” Michael Strait, vice president of College Project with PTK said, “We made it our college project to organize the H.U.G.S. closet … see a need; fill a need.”
H.U.G.S. is designed to help struggling students by offering items like school supplies, ramen noodles, and a connection to Gateway to Hope, where a student can get an interview outfit.
“Students will be able to ask for things that are more expensive items so that we can track who we are helping but, for most of the smaller, items we will be giving to all who are in need,” Strait said.
They have received donations from Brookshire’s in Chandler, St. Paul Children’s Foundation, and have a promise of donation from Henderson Humane Society. More businesses and organizations are expected to join in the program in the near future.
“St. Paul Children’s Foundation was our first initial donation and they also plan to have a running donation every few weeks,” Strait said. “The foundation often receives donations that they cannot use and are going to pass them to H.U.G.S.”
Donations aren’t expected only from organizations and businesses.
Gabriella Fellbaum, 23, PTK chapter historian said, “It’s a great way for students to help students … H.U.G.S. closet is going to help every kind of student succeed.”
A location for the H.U.G.S. closet has, this semester, been provided in the campus Library.
James Hemsworth, 28, PTK vice president of fellowship said, “I love the concept of the H.U.G.S. closet.” Hemsworth conveyed his annoyance that the school administration took so long in giving a definite location to set up the closet. “I feel like if it gets moved even once, people will assume it was shut down.”
With the consistent influx of students each semester, many types of donations will be consistently needed. “Anything from a box of crackers to a package of laundry soap, we could use any number of items to help out students in need,” Julie Speaks, vice president of Honors in Action project said.
Now that a location has been determined for the closet, setting up a open and close time when student volunteers are available for students in need is the next step. In the meantime, Strait said students can contact him either for donations or if they have a need by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by emailing Gigi Delk, faculty advisor, at email@example.com.