News release
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Contact: Christina Chapple
Date: 3/12/04
 
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PEANUT BUTTER DRIVE – Southeastern Louisiana University psychology professor Paula Varnado-Sullivan, advisor for the student honor society Psi Chi, left, and Psi Chi president Melissa Roy of Luling, put up a poster advertising the chapter’s campaign to collect peanut butter for the Tangi Food Pantry. Donations can be placed in a collection bin in White Hall during the week of March 21 or brought to the War Memorial Student Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 24-25.

STUDENT ORGANIZATION PLANS PEANUT BUTTER DRIVE FOR FOOD BANK
      HAMMOND -- A Southeastern Louisiana University student honor society, Psi Chi, is putting a new spin on a common community service project – the food drive. 
      Members of the small, but active organization for psychology students will marshal their members during the week of March 21 to collect peanut butter, a key staple for the Tangi Food Pantry. 
      Psi Chi will man a table in the War Memorial Student Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24 and 25 and will also have a collection bin at the psychology department office in White Hall, said the organization’s president, Melissa Roy, a senior from Luling.
       When the idea of a food drive was proposed as a Psi Chi service project, Roy said members tweaked the concept. 
      “Peanut butter is something the food pantry needs to have; it’s nutritious, but it’s durable. It’s great for families with young children,” Roy said. Also, the members chose to stage the drive in March because,  “Everyone donates food during the holidays,” she said, “but food pantries don’t get as many donations this time of year.”
      The Tangi Food Pantry, she said, “is excited about the idea.”
      Psi Chi is a national honor society for psychology majors and non-majors with at least 18 hours of psychology credit. Members must maintain a 3.0 grade point average overall and in their psychology courses, said advisor Paula Varnado-Sullivan, an assistant professor of psychology.
      Psi Chi has recently undergone a renaissance in membership and activity, Varnado-Sullivan said. The organization takes on two service projects a year, most recently collecting cellular phones for Alltel’s national “Donate a Phone” campaign against domestic violence. The phones, programed for emergency calls, become a crucial lifeline for women in potentially dangerous domestic situations. 
      Psi Chi collected more than 100 cellular phones and plan to repeat the service project next year, Roy said.
      In addition to Roy, Psi Chi officers are Tabita Karan, Bogalusa, vice president; Mary Melancon, LaPlace, secretary; and Chris Kidwell, Mandeville, treasurer.
      Combining service projects with course works, “Gives you a greater sense of purpose,” Melancon said. “You’re not just here in class – and it’s fun!”
      Varnado-Sullivan said that in addition to community-related service projects, Psi Chi members also help man departmental information booths and support other department projects. “It’s great for building organizational skills,” she said, “and helps students feel more involved.”
      For additional information about Psi Chi, students can contact Varnado-Sullivan at 985-549-5535 or pvarnado@selu.edu.