By Tatyanna Carman
Rider’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the graduate counseling academic and professional honor society, created new workshops and activities for the Rider community through a new campaign called “Instilling Hope and Positivity: One Kind Message After Another.”
The President of CSI and graduate student Sravya Gummaluri explained how she came up with the campaign.
“I was actually at a Starbucks, waiting in line for my coffee the week before classes started and I saw that customers were encouraged to leave kind notes for the workers there. It occurred to me that perhaps our hardworking students and faculty could benefit from kind and positive reminders as well,” she said.
This inspired her to incorporate the idea within the Rider community by encouraging students and faculty to write positive affirmations on a Post-it and put them on bulletin boards.
“The beginning of a new school year can be difficult and overwhelming at times as everyone is getting used to their new classes and schedules. I believed that a little positive reminder could make a difference during that time of stress,” she said. “I know for myself that even a small reminder from someone such as ‘You can do this’ or ‘Don’t give up’ can make the biggest difference in the world and can really motivate me to keep pushing forward no matter what struggles I am facing.”
The other part of the activity was to pin inspirational quotes, that had meaning for the officers of CSI in an envelope, on a bulletin board to brighten people’s day.
Gummaluri said the honor society’s goal is to “promote excellence in counseling” within an academic setting and the counseling field.
“The main purpose of the honor society is to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our students in the graduate counseling programs,” said Faculty Advisor of CSI Juleen Buser. “The honor society is also a way to foster community among our students and provide a range of opportunities, such as service projects and professional development events, in which students can be involved.”
The chapter also hosts numerous other events, such as the CSI initiation ceremony, which welcomed two alumni guest speakers in April, professional development events, social events and donation drives like the Holiday Coat Drive. This donation drive was created to donate coats to a local organization Mercer Street Friends, which benefits underserved families in Trenton, New Jersey, according to Gummaluri.
“I am so grateful to be a leader of CSI because being engaged as a leader has empowered me by helping me have a voice to use to create positive change and have a positive effect on our counseling services program and local community,” she said. “I have had students that are now involved in the program who came up to me to tell me that hearing about my experience as a counseling student in graduate information sessions and open houses was inspiring and that was one of the factors that contributed to them choosing Rider for their education.”
Buser explained what the members of the honor society and her Co-Advisor Terry Pertuit have planned for the future.
“Right now the current honor society officers are working on some great events for the upcoming year,” she said. “For example, they are planning a self-care event around the end of the semester to assist with the stress of final exams. Terry and I are also working with the honor society officers to collaborate with a local mental health organization, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern NJ, to bring in a workshop on suicide prevention and awareness.”
She also discussed how working within the honor society has impacted her personally.
Buser said, “It has been very rewarding to work with the student officers of the honor society. I co-advise this honor society with another faculty member, Dr. Terry Pertuit, and it is a terrific experience to work with these motivated and dedicated student leaders.”