English Department Goes Greek With Sigma Tau Delta

Sarah Hauze, Reporter

Sigma Tau Delta, an International Honors Society for English majors, has opened a chapter on campus, offering opportunities for qualifying English majors while upholding the skills of language, literature and writing both with students and the surrounding community.

“An English Honors Society gives students the formal, structured setting sometimes needed in order to complete larger goals and projects. Further, it allows for a more intimate and group-orientated sense of community, which makes its members even closer than they were prior. Lastly, it is simply an enjoyable privilege to be specially recognized for one’s work as an English major,” said Auraleah Grega, member and former President of Sigma Tau Delta.

Through the Alpha Sigma Epsilon chapter advised by English professor Amanda Caleb, participating students have service opportunities, and they can gain professional skills.

Sigma Tau Delta is  working on a number of service projects that benefit the surrounding community, such as book drives and various events to raise funds for local schools for the purchase of much-needed books, including dictionaries. Members hold fundraising activities for the organization throughout the academic year, such as holiday-themed bake sales and 50/50 raffles.

The English honors society offers students the chance to participate in conferences at both the local and national level, as well as opportunities to have their own creative works published in the society’s  literature magazine and journal, the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle and the Sigma Tau Delta Review, which are published and distributed to all chapters of the organization. The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle publishes members’ fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, while the Sigma Tau Delta Review features members’ scholarly works, such as critical essays on literature and pedagogical issues of teaching reading and writing.

“I think that this Honors society offers excellent opportunities for English majors that they might not otherwise have. Particularly the opportunities to join in conferences and publish your own work through their journal and literature magazine are invaluable things to have on your resume for graduate school,” said Grega.

According to the Sigma Tau Delta website, the mission of the English Honors Society is “to promote academic scholarship in English while simultaneously acting as advocates for literacy, reading, and writing in the surrounding community.” There are over 850 local chapters throughout the world, with new chapters added every academic year.

“Aside from academic prowess, the campus chapter of Sigma Tau Delta differs from many other honor societies on campus in that the organization is quite active in community and campus events. These activities usually take the form of charity or service projects. However, Sigma Tau Delta adds its own flavor to these service projects, imbuing them with a passion for literature, which spreads advocacy for literacy and language to others,” said Hebda

To register for Sigma Tau Delta, students must be an English major or minor, have completed three semesters of coursework and two English classes beyond their core requirements, and students must retain a 3.2 GPA in completed English classes and a 3.0 GPA overall. Once accepted, members may also participate in local and national conferences.

The Misericordia chapter of Sigma Tau Delta also offers English students more than the accomplishments listed on their résumés; it offers them a chance to build fellowship with other like-minded individuals.

“My favorite aspect of participating in club activities is the chance to work with individuals who possess similar interests and concerns regarding literature and language. The Misericordia chapter of Sigma Tau Delta remains a small organization that facilitates well the transmission of ideas among its members, and this cohesion builds a sense of community and purpose that far exceeds what one might experience in the academic setting of a class in one’s major,” said Jacob Hebda, former member and Vice-President.

Students can also look forward to a number of new and exciting opportunities, as talks of expanding the group’s involvement with other on-campus groups and contribution to the creation of new ones come to fruition.

“I have heard rumors of a possible creative writing club, and during this past year, Sigma Tau Delta has considered the prospect of working alongside the Misericordia University literary magazine Instress. The coming years seem exciting because of the possibility for greater interaction between both creative and critical English clubs on campus, which might be further developed by Dr. Matthew Nickel, the university’s newest creative writing instructor and member of Instress. The prospect of joint projects saddens me though, as I will be unable to take part in them, but I think that these potential developments will give new members much to look forward to,” said Hebda.

Students interested in becoming a part of Sigma Tau Delta should contact Dr. Amanda Caleb of the English department. For more details, visit English.org/sigmatd.