There is no denying that Sigma Tau Delta is a large honor society; as the second largest academic honor society we have over 900 chapters and induct approximately 9,000 members each year. As an international honor society we take great pride in chartering chapters all over the world.
The Society is divided into regions—Eastern, Far Western, High Plains, Midwestern, Southwestern, and Southern—with some chapters only a short drive away from each other while others are a couple of hours away. So one question that we as student leaders hear a lot at convention is how can students interact with and utilize sister chapters in order to grow and mature as chapters, as students, as writers, and as leaders? So glad you asked! We’ve assembled some great examples from the past year and have a few more ideas to help start your brainstorming process.
Ways to Maintain Connections
Many Sigma Tau Delta members are preparing to attend the Sigma Tau Delta 2018 International Convention in Cincinnati, OH, on March 21-24, where they will bump into some other cool people. Perhaps you will hear someone present a creative or academic paper on Shakespeare and you would marry the Bard if this was 1582. During the convention you will be able to connect and build friendships with fellow attendees through the Sigma Tau Delta convention app, which will allow you to send messages to other attendees; view schedules, explore sessions, and find speakers and networking events; create your own personal schedule for the convention; access details about local attractions; and share and post photos, and identify trending sessions. But what are some ways you can maintain contact with your new friends whose email addresses you hastily scribbled down between the end of a panel and going out with your chapter for a quick bite?Western Kentucky University Pi Iota Chapter officers Bridget and Adrian offer one way their chapter has maintained inter-chapter communication. Bridget met Eta Phi Northern Michigan University student Brian and some of his chapter members after a poetry presentation that Adrian also was a part of. “We started talking with him and his fellow chapter members. . . . We all hit it off pretty well . . . [and] Brian initiated our chapter’s inclusion in the online Facebook forum called ‘Submit!'”
Co-administrator Brian offers, “Submit! is a page for people interested in submitting creative work to literary journals where they can post calls for submissions, ask questions, and engage with other writers.”Bridget explains that “[t]he group/forum has been a great way to keep up with connections we had made at the last Sigma Tau Delta convention in Louisville and to just keep one another in the loop about submission opportunities.” While submission opportunities may be sporadically posted in each region’s Facebook and/or Instagram page, a forum like Submit! can be carefully curated for students looking to place either a lot of poetry to enhance their resume or a specific style of poetry.
Bridget concludes by stating that becoming a part of Submit! not only helped creatively but provided personal satisfaction as well. “It’s also a chance to humble-brag about accepted submissions! Because who doesn’t like being congratulated and recognized for their writing, right?”
And, of course, Sigma Tau Delta’s many social media platforms serve as the perfect venue for engaging with other Society members!
Ways to Initiate Inter-Chapter Connections
Southern Regent Kevin Brown of Lee University recommends a good old fashioned face-to-face interaction with nearby chapters. Lee University just hosted their 14th annual Symposium, “where they had twenty students from five different colleges/universities (Lee University, Tennessee Wesleyan University, Carson-Newman College, Shorter University, and Young Harris College) present their creative and critical works. All total, we had roughly fifty people, counting faculty, in attendance. We run it like a larger convention but on a much smaller scale. A few years ago, we began bringing in an outside speaker for a keynote address, charging people $10, which includes both breakfast and lunch. Oddly enough, charging people actually made attendance go up.”Creating a mini conference or symposium is a great way to work with sister chapters, but how would one start that from the ground up? Communication is key. Students should work with their Chapter Sponsors/advisors and see who in the area is interested and physically able to make the drive and coordinate a schedule that fits both parties. Some professors may even give students extra credit for presenting or volunteering to staff the event. It’s okay to start small with only one or two chapters, after all, Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day. If your mini conference or symposium is focused around the Common Reader (hint, this year is The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Hernandez) then you may be eligible for some Sigma Tau Delta funds of up to $100!
So there you have it, two great ways to maintain and initiate inter-chapter connections. Make sure to check out the regional Facebook group (in addition to the main Society Facebook page) and search for regional Twitter pages and Instagram accounts; all great ways to reach out and connect with your fellow Sigma Tau Deltans. Additionally, view the regional directory to locate chapters near you. Last but not least, feel free to reach out to your student representatives and associate student representatives; they help monitor the regional pages and would love to brainstorm new ways to engage inter-chapter relationships.
Join Student Leadership in an interactive workshop at the 2018 Convention to find, develop, and utilize your strengths as we engage in team-building exercises, logic puzzles, and communication skills. Leadership skills are transferable and variable—the best teams have a balance and we’re here to help find one.
Student Leaders will work with chapter leaders and members to build skills that will help to increase, improve, or discover:
- Chapter recruitment, involvement, and activity
- Convention submissions
- Chapter Fundraising
- Alumni Relations
- Sigma Tau Delta Student Leadership Opportunities
Come with friends or come and make new ones!
Faculty and students from each region (Eastern, Far Western, High Plains, Midwestern, Southern, and Southwestern) are encouraged to gather briefly with others from their region. This is an opportunity to meet informally with the Student Advisors, each Regent, and the Student Representatives, and to ask questions about regional issues and opportunities for involvement. Anyone considering running for a regional position must attend this meeting. It is also a great chance to meet others from the region and to make dinner plans with new friends.