• March 14, 2024

Celebrating 15 years – STC Psychology Club named ‘Volunteer Group of the Year’

Celebrating 15 years – STC Psychology Club named ‘Volunteer Group of the Year’

Fifteen years since it began, what originally began with the goal to create an environment where likeminded students studying psychology could collaborate has since evolved into a driving force for community involvement and advocate for positive mental health.

Beginning in 2009, South Texas College Starr County Campus Psychology faculty and brothers Alex and Eli Sarabia recall the innovative concept that was the foundation for the campus’s new Psychology Club. Now 15 years later, they are being celebrated as the Volunteer Group of the Year by the Starr County Fair Association.

“It feels nice and rewarding to be making a positive difference in students’ lives as well as in the Starr County community,” said Eli Sarabia. “We are very grateful to the Starr County Fair for recognizing our STC Psychology Club as 2024 Volunteer Group of the Year. What makes it extra special is receiving this honor during our club’s 15th anniversary.”

The Psychology Club at Starr is among the largest active groups on STC campuses. By the numbers, over the last 15 years, the club has counted more than 800 members, held 200 meetings, organized 80 fundraisers, and has raised over $40,000 for the community and student scholarships.

Through the years, the club has also volunteered at the Starr County Fair assisting in various duties including ticket stamping, cleaning and set-up.

“The STC Psychology Club has been a tremendous asset to the Starr County Fair.  Their advisors, Alex Sarabia and Eli Sarabia, have ensured that they, along with club members, have volunteered their time at the gate during our annual countywide event for many years,” said Starr County Fair Vice President of Operations Lori Perez. “They represent STC wonderfully with their dedication and commitment to our local community, and we are grateful for them.”

STC Starr County Campus Administrator Arturo Montiel, Ed.D., shares the same sentiment about the club’s community involvement.

“The Psychology Club has been active in all parts of Starr County and even has a presence internationally,” Montiel said. “They have contributed to the well-being of our students on campus academically, physically, as well as emotionally. Moreover, they have extended these support services everywhere in the community. We are proud of our very own Psychology Club.”

The key to the club’s success, according to Alex, is applying psychology into student involvement. He said it’s the “feel-good phenomena” that comes from serving others.

“If you’re doing good things for others in the community, that is a naturally rewarding feeling,” said Alex. “It can be something simple like picking up trash along the highway or something heartfelt like donating a toy to a child at Christmas. Our concept was and still is that serving and helping others is rewarding and priceless and plays a significant impact on mental health.”

There are currently 60 STC Psychology Club members for the 2023-2024 year.

Signature events for the club include its annual Role Models Get Inspired Conference, which for the last 14 years has invited leaders from the community to speak on their achievements and obstacles with an emphasis on college advice, family support, college resources and future goals for students.

The club also organizes its annual talent show event, mental health awareness conference and participates in various community events dedicated to everything from art, autism awareness, cancer, abuse and domestic violence prevention and many more.

Students say they benefit from being involved in their community, which helps them grow outside of the classroom.

“Being part of the Starr County Campus Psychology Club has helped me learn more about the community, that people have many different experiences in their mental health and about their life,” said Psychology Club president Hollis Faw. “The Starr Psych Club helps students grow as a person and I’m honored to be part of it.”

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