The 2015-2016 Diamond Chapter, Hillsborough Community College, is the first ever community college to receive the distinguished award- and we couldn’t be more excited for them. They blew the competition out of the water with a beautiful website, designed specifically for the 2015-2016 Star Status competition. We could not be more proud of Raquel, the Chapter President, for encouraging all of her fellow officers and chapter members to go above and beyond this past school year. I had the distinct pleasure of asking Raquel, and their Chapter Advisor, Lauren, about their experience as a Platinum chapter. Here’s what they had to say.

National Office: Raquel, what are the top three reasons you believe your chapter received Diamond Status this year?
Raquel Baudrit: Scholarship, Leadership, Service. We truly focused on those three pillars. As an executive board, we challenged ourselves to create events that communicated those values to our community. In Scholarship, we created official guidelines for our monthly scholarships and often highlighted the achievements of our chapter’s scholars on social media. In Leadership, our whole team was up to the challenge of bringing our chapter to the next level. We worked cooperatively as a whole, yet had separate tasks in order to achieve a diverse number of activities. Lastly, in Service, we expanded our community service initiatives and P.A.C.E program, in addition to collaborating with chapters in our area.

National Office: What set apart your chapter this year more so than any other year?
RB: We grew, a lot. On a chapter level, we doubled our membership. We opened up to more potential members with a 3.4 GPA and celebrated by organizing a second induction ceremony in the spring. We finally established a P.A.C.E mentoring program with a local elementary school. We also documented everything we did and shared it with our members on social media, from meeting minutes to event photos, and occasionally videos to commemorate things like Scholar Send-Off and the Induction Ceremonies.

National Office: What single thing are you most proud of regarding your chapter?
RB: I am so proud of the dedication the executive board showed throughout the academic year. When we went to ScholarCon we set out on a goal of becoming a platinum chapter and we exceeded that goal. Every meeting, decision, community service event, induction ceremony, and signature program we organized was in service of that mission. We wanted to give our members an unforgettable experience and raise our chapter to another level, and we did just that!

National Office: Lauren, as the chapter Advisor, what do you admire most about the HCC chapter?
Lauren Furry: I admire the tenacity of the entire team of officers. They set goals for the chapter throughout the year and, without fail, they met each of these goals by working hard and staying focused.

National Office: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from the members of your chapter?
LF: I am reminded of the importance of effective team work among peers. The chapter organized many events that required extensive planning, collaboration, and facilitation among many people. As advisor I learned to step back and allow the students to take ownership of each stage of planning. As a result I found they became less reliant on me for ideas and problem solving, and more reliant on each other. The team was so successful because of their support for each other and the achievement of common goals.

Congratulations Hillsborough Community College. We at the National Office are so, so proud of you! Show off your Diamond Trophy with pride!