Most North Lake College students know Mike Moore, manager of the campus’s Follett bookstore, as the guy who sells their textbooks. But for Alpha Zeta Eta, NLC’s chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Moore is a mentor, a friend, and an unlikely campus leader. That’s why the chapter’s members nominated Moore for the society’s Tejas Award, a statewide accolade recognizing a valuable friend or supporter. And that’s why the state judges chose him as the 2016 Tejas Award winner.
When Moore arrived at North Lake in summer 2015, he investigated its student organizations to identify those which cultivated leadership. He explains that as a former campus organization leader himself, “being involved on the community college campus is something that’s important to me.”
He quickly offered to help Phi Theta Kappa and the Student Leadership Institute, negotiating with Phi Theta Kappa’s student president, Lina Patel. Patel and Moore arranged a trade in which the society’s members would volunteer in the bookstore, during the first week of school, in exchange for a donation which would help two students attend the honor society’s global convention.
The Phi Theta Kappa volunteers were tasked with helping to staff the campus bookstore at its peak times, when classes were just beginning and students were finding their textbooks. As volunteer workers, they gained new experience on workplace skills and professionalism.
Moore says, “The same expectations I’d have for my staff, I have for my volunteers. Working with them to help them understand how professional they need to be–they’re there to serve the students.”
But the students didn’t just gain workforce experience. In exchange for their labor, Moore arranged for a $650 donation which helped the Phi Theta Kappa leaders attend the honor society’s international convention.
Giving time for others
In addition, as the students wrote in their nomination letter, “Mike helps all students.” He encourages bookstore student workers to seek leadership opportunities, including NLC’s Student Leadership Institute. Moore plans to volunteer as an Institute leadership instructor, focusing on “taking the content of the course and framing it in real-life scenarios” from his business experiences. (He’s also working on a PhD in higher education administration from Northeastern University.)
The student-penned nomination letter sums up: “He’s more than a bookstore manager; he is a friend and visionary. Mr. Moore helps Student Life and our students like no other.”
For his part, Moore is modest about winning the Tejas Award. “Getting recognition is not what I set out to do. To think the students thought of me, as someone deserving of that award, is incredibly humbling.”
And the gratitude Phi Theta Kappa students have for him is matched by the pride Mike Moore has in them. “I haven’t, in my years on community college campuses, seen an organization take such a selfless, serving attitude. You know, giving up so much of their time to help others. I really wanted to be a part of something like that–I was blown away by what I saw.”