The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives in many ways. Most colleges and universities have cancelled all in-person courses and meetings for the remainder of the semester, most students have been sent home, and “social distancing” is the norm for the foreseeable future.
In these unprecedented circumstances, what can chapters and members of Sigma Tau Delta do? Here are some suggestions for ways to continue the spirit and the social value of Sigma Tau Delta while following recommended safety guidelines.
Inductions and Ceremonies
- Chapter Advisors, you can continue inviting eligible candidates for membership in Sigma Tau Delta. Enroll them in WriteAway using the invitation enrollment system. Visit English.org for more information about invitation enrollment.
- Consider holding a virtual induction ceremony for new members. Take inventory of what resources you already have in place and are using for classroom instruction that everyone is already comfortable using. Programs such as Zoom or Google Hangouts allow multiple users to see and talk with one another, and it is possible to coordinate an event to bring together current and new members in fellowship.
- In lieu of an induction ceremony, Chapter Advisors and/or Officers could record a “welcome to Sigma Tau Delta” video. A slide show or gallery of pictures from your chapter’s activities this year could be incorporated.
The Rho Iota Chapter at Clarion University hosted their spring induction ceremony via Zoom. Current members, the English department faculty, the university President, Provost, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences were in attendance. Twelve new members were inducted! Along with the new members, chapter officers were sworn in and the graduating seniors were recognized in a send off. The chapter was able to share readings, have some laughs, and enjoy music while practicing social distancing. Congratulations to all!
—McKenzie Rodriguez, Rho Itoa Chapter President and 2019-2020 Eastern Region Associate Student Representative
Sharing 2020 Convention Work
- If your chapter had members with work accepted to the 2020 Convention, consider organizing a virtual presentation of the work for your chapter.
- Make plans now to resubmit your work for the 2021 Sigma Tau Delta Convention in Denver, CO. Members who will be eligible for next year can start working on pieces to submit this fall—or start revising—work to submit in the fall for presentation at the spring 2021 Convention.
- Remember to cite your accepted work for the convention on your resume. At the end, you may indicate, “Convention cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.” (Everyone will understand this notation.)
- Polish your work now to submit to our combined journal, Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle and Sigma Tau Delta Review. Submissions will be accepted April 13 through May 11, 2020.
- Explore calls for papers to student conferences to submit your work. Regional Sigma Tau Delta conferences usually take place in the fall and are announced on the Sigma Tau Delta website.
Chapter Activities in a Virtual Community
- Hold a virtual book club discussion (or series) or a reading of your best or “bad poetry.” Those who have attended previous conventions know that the “Bad Poetry Contest” is one of the most popular, and creative, sessions.
- Pick a film that many members could stream from the college’s library and host a virtual watch party, with a post-film chat room. Check out the UK’s National Theatre web streaming: Many of their best performances are streaming free around the world to help alleviate social distancing, with a new play added each Thursday.
- Share creative or “literary activities” such as reading picture books, telling stories, or discussing texts that might be useful for children and parents whose regular school activities are disrupted. Student teachers who have developed lesson plans might share those to help teachers who are developing activities for their remote lessons
- Become active online with Sigma Tau Delta Social Media. There is an official Sigma Tau Delta Facebook page, and each Region has their own dedicated Facebook group. The Society also maintains a social media presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you are working or volunteering during this crisis, send us a picture in your college and/or Sigma Tau Delta gear and tell us how you are helping your community.