Sigma Tau Delta has long since prided itself with its members’ involvement and community engagement, which they have exemplified over the years. From book drives, to fundraisers, to Banned Books Week, Sigma Tau Delta members from all over the world help foster literacy and encourage young writers, all while promoting the Society. Yet, aren’t we forgetting a crucial part of our duties? Yes! Our sister affiliations are filled with motivated members eager to take part in important literacy efforts in their communities. Sigma Kappa Delta (SKD), the national English honor society for two-year colleges, and the National English Honor Society (NEHS) for high schools are dynamic organizations that may complement Sigma Tau Delta’s community involvement. So, engage in cross society mentorship! Here are a few ways to mentor the rising thinkers, writers, and readers in our extended English family.
1. Create a Joint Chapter Partnership with an NEHS Chapter
Joint project grants are designed to encourage local Sigma Tau Delta and NEHS chapters to join together to develop innovative projects that further the shared goals of both organizations. Grants for up to $200 ($100 for each participating chapter) may be available for use in a community literacy project. The project must involve BOTH an existing Sigma Tau Delta chapter and an existing NEHS chapter. Jointly, the two chapters will agree on a project that positively impacts their common community.
Last year the Missing Apostrophes NEHS Chapter from Edison High School, Edison, NJ, completed a project that would lend itself nicely to a joint chapter project. Members interviewed residents at a local rehabilitation center, and using the information from these interviews, the members crafted poems that will be used to create a book complete with photos, biographies, and artwork. The book will be presented to JFK-Hartwyck Rehabilitation Center as soon as it is completed. If a Sigma Tau Delta Chapter were to participate in the interview process and contribute poetry to the book, this project could have been considered for a joint project grant.
2. Initiate the Chartering of a New NEHS Chapter
If your high school (or one close by) doesn’t have an NEHS chapter, talk with the English teachers or administration of that school about starting one. High school students will be exposed to opportunities in English that they might not otherwise have. The next great American novelist could be sitting in that high school waiting for the door to open.
3. Talk with Local Community Colleges about Partnering Chapters
Find a nearby community college and speak with the instructor who is sponsoring their SKD chapter. When SKD and Sigma Tau Delta chapters partner, participation from members in both chapters increases. It might even boost membership. Go see a play together, talk about the current convention Common Reader, host a joint open mic, or even have a poetry campout. If funds are an issue, talk with your Regent. Who knows, it might even spark a new literary movement in your area!
4. Attend SKD Roundtables at Convention
It’s an honor for anyone, including SKD members, to present a paper at the annual Sigma Tau Delta international convention. However, their roundtables tend to be less attended than those by Sigma Tau Delta members. Help make SKD presenters feel like valuable members of the Society by encouraging others to attend their sessions. Trust me, they have great things to say.
We all have busy schedules, but taking a little extra time to get involved with an SKD or NEHS chapter really makes a difference in the cohesiveness of our extended English family!
Southern Associate Student Representative, 2016-2017
Eta Nu Chapter, President
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS