Finding Home in the Borderlands

Amber RoseAmber M. Rose
Far Western Region Associate Student Representative
Vice President, Alpha Tau Phi Chapter
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

Amber’s blog was selected 1st Place in the 2015 Convention Story Contest.

Before the convention, I had never before traveled out of my time zone. The rest of my chapter left the University of Oregon for the convention the day before I did, so I traveled alone, attempting not to fall asleep in the Eugene airport before my 6 a.m. flight and running around Salt Lake City airport while panicking about potentially missing my connecting flight (which was delayed an hour).

I have a horrible sense of direction and a tendency to cling to the familiar so hard that I almost merge with it, so by the time I landed in Albuquerque I was desperate for familiarity. My Faculty Sponsor picked me up at the airport, and as we got closer to the hotel I silently hoped my fellow chapter members would help me feel more at home.

Alpha Tau Phi Chapter members

Alpha Tau Phi Chapter members (left to right): Alison Goodwin, Grace Shum, Amber Rose, Sean Pebler, and Neil Davidson

Little did I know that my definition of “home” was about to change. The sheer size of the convention overwhelmed me at first, but it didn’t take long before I was conversing with people about Shakespeare plays I hadn’t yet read and which Hogwarts house I belonged to. Even when I didn’t know where I was or what anyone was talking about, I didn’t feel lost; the passion for literature that everyone brought with them to the convention made me feel right at home. It was infectious–even if you had never even heard of a book that someone was talking about, you couldn’t help but feel excited about it because they were excited about it.

Though I was also able to identify things that reminded me of being back in Eugene–my fellow Alpha Tau Phi Chapter members would frequently “throw up the ‘O’ ” for photos and to help us find each other, and I even found some ducks swimming in the Rio Grande that reminded me of my school’s mascot–nothing felt more at home to me than those conversations that had nothing to do with the place I call home. At the convention, home didn’t mean where you came from; home meant where you felt you belonged. All the ducks in the world couldn’t take the place of the passion for literature felt in Albuquerque. For those few short days, Albuquerque was my home.

I still miss it.

Humans of Sigma Tau Delta

Crystal Stoneby Crystal Stone
Eastern Region Student Representative, 2014-2015
Alpha Mu Epsilon Chapter
Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

Challenged by the task of improving communications and inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York project, I drafted a plan for our own Humans of Sigma Tau Delta page. Brandon Stanton’s project seemed like the perfect model for an English-loving society. In every picture, Brandon tells a story. He pays attention, not just to the person he’s capturing and the dialogue they engage in, but also the angle and setting of the encounter. Over time, each of his pictures creates a narrative about the community of people who live in New York City. I wanted to do the same sort of thing from a Sigma Tau Delta perspective

"All my degrees are from different institutions. I would suggest that to any graduate. You don't want to be too inbred." - Robert Crafton

“I’m a math major, but my minor is in literature and I work at a writing center. I don’t know how that worked out. What people don’t realize is that you need reading and writing in math.” -Jessica Moore

While our own project might not show the same artistic genius as Stanton’s, we do accomplish a similar goal: cataloguing experiences, moments, and insights from Sigma Tau Deltans across the world. The biggest difference between our project and Stanton’s is that we’re doing this together. It isn’t just one man behind a camera trying to tell a story. We’re all working together to answer the question: what does it mean to be a member of Sigma Tau Delta? As Stanton’s project is relevant to the city he so deeply cares for, ours relates to the Society and subject we love.

To keep the project going, we’re asking not only that you like the page, but that you participate. Do you have pertinent advice you always wanted to give? A funny story? A cool tattoo? Something entirely else related to the aims and goals of Sigma Tau Delta? We want to hear about it. Send a picture, a short story or quote (60 words or less), and the name of your school to stonec@allegheny.edu so we can tell your story on our page. “Like” Humans of Sigma Tau Delta and Humans of New York on Facebook to get a better idea of the kinds of pictures and stories we’d like to capture.

Robert Crafton

“All my degrees are from different institutions. I would suggest that to any graduate. You don’t want to be too inbred.” -Robert Crafton

Ariadne Capotis

“I don’t always feel like I’m the typical English major. I used to have class with this kid that was pretentious: not in the sense that he was always correcting you, but that he was constantly reminding you of what he’s read. One time he started quoting John Milton to me after class. I told him he should try to go out more.” -Ariadne Capotis

Abecedarians? Unite!

Sarah Dangelantonioby Sarah Dangelantonio
2015 Convention Chair

At this year’s convention, you’ll be hearing the term “Abecedarian” bandied about. What’s an Abecedarian, you may ask. Well, an Abecedarian, according to the OED, is a mid-17th century Late Latin term meaning “a person who is just learning, a novice.” For those of you who are Abecedarians at this year’s convention (those of you who are attending for the first time), we have a few suggestions about what you shouldn’t miss!

2014 Convention Attendees To begin with, be sure to attend the first-ever Abecedarians Unite! Meeting on Wednesday, March 18, from 5-6 p.m. in Pavilion IV-V-VI. It’s especially for first-time and solo convention goers. Here, you’ll meet some of our student leaders and alumni who will give you their best tips and tricks for making the most of your convention experience and help you to get acquainted with the other novices. As a starter, so you can do some pre-convention planning, here are some suggestions from last year’s Abecedarians:

  • Go to all of the headlining speakers, All. Of. Them. The one(s) you don’t know will be just as enjoyable as the ones you do– maybe more so. And be sure to pick up a copy of the speakers’ book to get signed—nothing says English major more than a personally inscribed, autographed copy of a book.
  • Pick out one of the special Thursday morning workshops to attend–whether you want to hone your creative writing skills, see how best to showcase your English skills as you enter the job market, or consider going to graduate school for that M.A., M.Ed., or MFA, there’s a workshop to suit your fancy.
  • Introduce yourself to people, heck yeah, to EVERYONE!—you’ll never be with more folks who get allusions, look for symbolism in everything, understand the irksome nature of misused apostrophes and commas than you will at convention—you’re with your people, so to speak, so don’t be shy! Those badges you wear will be great icebreakers, so look for others from your region, or look for other Abecedarians (you’ll all have yellow name badges).
  • Attend the Business Meeting at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 20. You’ll get a chance to represent for your chapter, and every chapter with an official voting student delegate present at the General Business Meeting and the Regional Caucus is eligible to receive a $200 reimbursement ($400 for non-continental U.S. chapters).
  • Interested in getting your manuscript published? Don’t miss out on the Paths to Publication panel on Friday, March 20, at 9:30 a.m. in Pavilion IV-V. Five Sigma Tau Deltans with new publications will be sharing their stories and answering questions.
  • Participate in the Bad Poetry Contest or Open Mic night and share your worst and/or best work with your fellow Sigma Tau Deltans.
  • Hit up the merchandise sales tables and snag the perfect T-shirt, button, or jewelry item that expresses your inner English-nerdiness. Edgy or punny, there’s sure to be something that is just perfect for you.
  • Play Convention Bingo – meet people, participate in diverse activities, eat good food, and you might just win a prize!
  • Get out of the hotel and explore Albuquerque. From a Tram ride up to the top of the Sandias, a visit to The Candy Lady in Old Town, or an excursion to one of the many museums or cultural centers, see some of what this fabulous location has to offer. See map of downtown Albuquerque.
Chapter merchandise sold at the 2014 Convention

Chapter merchandise sold at the 2014 Convention

Though by no means a comprehensive list, this should get you started with your plans for how you might spend your time at the 2015 Convention. We can’t wait to meet all of you in Albuquerque.