Psi Chi philanthropy event raises funds for CASA and hits home

Features — By Jordan MacAvoy on May 3, 2013 7:00 AM

The Puget Sound branch of the International Honor Society in Psychology, Psi Chi, held a philanthropy event in conjunction with the Psychology Club on Friday, April 23 to raise money for the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.

The event, Psi Pie and Tie Dye Day, provided attendees an opportunity to buy and dye t-shirts picturing the iconic psychologist Sigmund Freud with the words Pink Freud printed underneath.

Initially it was to be held outside but weather made this an unfortunate impossibility. However, the rain did not dampen the philanthropic spirit, and the event was held instead in Weyerhauser Hall.

Several professors from the psychology department attended the event, and a running tally was kept on which one of them would be hit in the face with a pie, according to the desires of students who donated money. Psychology professor and director of the Puget Sound Psi Chi branch David Andresen, for better or worse, collected the most money, and collected his pie at the end of the event.

According to their website, “Psi Chi is the International Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology.”

At Puget Sound, Psi Chi and the Psychology Club work together to give students opportunities to talk about research being done in the field of psychology and for the proliferation of ideas and opportunities surrounding the field.

Psi Chi’s intention is to reward scholars for exemplary academic and creative research done to advance the scientific and academic scope of their field. It allows students a channel through which they are capable of growing professionally.

While my desire to tie dye a t-shirt with Freud’s face—while enjoying a free root beer float—was great, the real reason for my attendance of the event was the impact CASA has had on my life and family. My stepsister, Wednesday, is a victim whose life has been dramatically improved by the efforts of CASA and her own advocate, Colleen.

Colleen is a volunteer and acts both as Wendy’s attorney and advocate in court, and as a “big sister” and confidant. Colleen takes Wendy to events, plays and parties, and does crafts with her to facilitate conversations about psychological and physical well-being.

Though Wendy has been removed from her abusive parent’s care, psychological damage remains and needs to be treated carefully in a way that my mother (her stepmother) and her father are not trained to do. CASA offers children in Wendy’s position, and in situations far worse, an ally and a friend.

Colleen and Wendy both anticipate that they will maintain a relationship long after the court is no longer involved in Wendy’s life; such is the bond that many children experience with their advocates.

These men and women are volunteers who devote a significant portion of their week to promoting healthy growth and stability in these children’s lives, so Psi Chi’s philanthropic endorsement of the organization is one that interested and inspired me.

The philanthropic spirit of clubs and academic fraternities on our campus is a testament to the will of scholarship to be present in a global community.

The officers of both the club and the honors society demonstrate tremendous empathy and compassion when they take time out of their busy lives to put on events in support of groups like CASA.

This was my first interaction with either the Psychology Club or Psi Chi, but it was a very powerful first impression.

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