Finding your campus home within lettered organizations

For students interested in the atmosphere of Greek Life but do not wish to join a social organization, there are various Greek letter honors organizations on campus.

 “We have different types of organizations on campus,” said Assistant Director of the Office for Student Engagement Kyle Gallagher. “We have some honors organizations that have Greek letters as their names that are truly academic types. Then we also have the Greek social organizations that take Greek letters as their names. Then we have other types of organizations that also use Greek letter names. Those organizations might have a singular focus. Like Alpha Psi Omega is based off of theatre. Then we have music-based fraternities and sororities. So, we have very special interest organizations that also use Greek names.”

Gallagher explained the primary difference between social Greek organizations and Greek honors organizations.

“Most of these organizations are founded on very specific purposes, whether it’s to honor students in a particular field of study, or it’s to bring together and bond students who might share a same passion,” said Gallagher. “Whereas Greek social organizations were founded specifically around the idea of socialization, but they weren’t founded with a specific purpose or specific field in mind for their creation.”

Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Edward Nelson is the faculty advisor for a pre-professional student honor society on campus, Delta Omega Alpha. 

 

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“It is open to all students who meet the requirements and is a  professional honor society,” said Nelson. “Delta Omega Alpha’s goal is to prepare Southeastern students to be able to apply and get accepted into a professional school.  They have invited speakers such as professionals working in medical fields, the deans of medical and dental schools and the Chair of the Southeastern Medical Evaluation Committee Dr. Volker Stiller go on trips to the medical schools and dental schools, etc. They can sign up for practice tests such as the MCAT, DAT, GRE, etc. and many more things.”

Nelson believes it is vital that students join campus organizations.

“It is important that students join campus organizations in general and especially honor organizations,” said Nelson. “It helps them to relate to their fellow students and to become more involved in campus events. Also, it is very important to be able to list membership in these organizations on their resumes for when they apply to a graduate or professional school or for a job after college. Some medical schools now want the students to list 15 things they did in college outside the classroom, so the more organizations they join, especially if they take a leadership role, the better.”

English Instructor Christoph Genre is the faculty advisor for Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society, which is for students of all majors so long as they meet its entry requirements.  

“Aside from not being gender segregated, Sigma Tau Delta focuses on the promotion of literacy and developing methods for better teaching English, though socialization is an important aspect of our society as well,” said Genre. “Honor societies like Sigma Tau Delta are important because membership is often viewed as a badge of academic excellence, and there is a case to be made that continued membership often results in higher grades and better academic performance.”

Like many other organizations, Sigma Tau Delta has scholarship opportunities.

“Sigma Tau Delta offers students various scholarships, internships and invaluable networking opportunities, as well as socializing, friendships and a chance to share with others who have similar appreciation for the English language,” said Genre. “Membership in honor societies always looks great on a resume, and the more active one is the better. Also, like any club or organization, it’s always great to be surrounded by like-minded people with similar interests.”

Assistant Director for Residential Life Amanda Robbins is the faculty advisor for Gamma Beta Phi.

“Gamma Beta Phi is a national service and honor society,” said Robbins. “Our Southeastern chapter boasts hundreds of dedicated student scholars committed to the organizational goals of service, education and friendship. Our chapter was established in the early 1980s and has a long legacy of involvement in Southeastern events and philanthropic efforts.”

Robbins feels joining these kinds of organizations offers networking opportunities.

“I feel honors organizations are a vital part of the collegiate experience,” said Robbins. “For high-achieving students, an honors organization can provide social connections and a way for students to serve the community, which supported their growth and development. I believe all students should have the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities; these organizations provide an identity and platform for this engagement.”

Robbins explained how she believes Gamma Beta Phi can provide lifelong friendships.

“I feel the ultimate collegiate experience includes activities and meaningful engagement both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Robbins. “An organization can provide long-term friendships and connections that last past the student’s commencement day. Gamma Beta Phi seeks to provide opportunities for students to give back to their community and connect with other students.”

Madison Paulus is the president of Alpha Psi Omega, which is a theatre national honors society. 

“Our organization is smaller and closer in size to a family,” said Paulus. “We’ve got the crazy uncles and super soccer moms. We constantly lift each other up in support and encourage other members. We require less of a time commitment yet are still active in the community.”

“I think organizations such as Alpha Psi Omega are important because it allows people to explore outside of their comfort zones in a comfortable environment,” said Paulus. “However, you don’t have to have any theatre experience. We are open to all majors and experiences. If you don’t want to act, you don’t have to. If you’re into sound design or running crew, we absolutely have a place for you. Alpha Psi Omega is a place to learn and grow.”

According to Paulus, joining APO has perks within the theatre program.

“We offer a way to be involved in the theatre department,” said Paulus. “In many cases, APO members have first priority and, or discounted prices. For example, when APO produces a show, APO members get priority auditions and casting. Also, we are currently doing a series of stage combat workshops, taught by Ben Norman, and APO members get a half off price. Otherwise, we offer opportunities in many events around the SLU campus and meet new people.”

Gallagher believes students should become involved in an organization on campus to be more successful in college and after.

“Ultimately, it’s important for all students to get involved,” said Gallagher. “Study after study shows that the level of involvement you have in your college career directly affects your experience during college and how well you are received in the employment field afterward. Employers are definitely looking at the experiences you had in addition to the grades that you made while in college.”

According to Gallagher, students can still get the experience of a Greek social organizations from non-social Greek life organization.  

“Belonging to at least one organization, whichever one it might be, is important,” said Gallagher. “So, these organizations provide a crucial vehicle for students who might not necessarily want to join a Greek social organization but still want that same experience. They can join one of these organizations and find their sense of home.”

 

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