By Ellie Gavin || Assistant Campus Life Editor
This spring, the national collegiate English honors society, Sigma Tau Delta, will be colonizing a new chapter at F&M. Sigma Tau Delta is an international organization for students at four year colleges and universities. The organization offers English majors opportunities to apply for scholarships, publish their work, interact with a network of writers and English scholars, and demonstrate their excellence in and commitment to English language, literature, and writing.
Senior English major and founder of the F&M Sigma Tau Delta chapter, Livia Meneghin ’15 says she applied for a chapter at F&M because she felt that English majors were lacking some of the opportunities that students in other majors have.
“Firstly, I have to say that I do love the Writer’s House with all my heart. It’s a truly amazing community for writers, artists, readers and all students on campus. I just felt like F&M did not provide any place for students to distinguish themselves as scholars of English,” Meneghin said.
“We have no research fairs, no honor society, no platform to present our work or community to identify ourselves as academically dedicated to this field.”
F&M has many established honors societies that offer students within a particular area of study an opportunity to distinguish themselves academically, such as the Benjamin Rush Honors Society for pre-health majors and the John Marshall Pre-Law Honors Society. Until now, however, there was no such organization for English ma
“I was just thinking, why don’t we have an English Honor Society at F&M? I study English, and that’s just as important as the other departments which have groups,” Meneghin said.
Once Meneghin decided she wanted to bring Sigma Tau Delta to F&M, the application process was simple. Meneghin, along with friend and co-president Katie Urbanski, found a faculty advisor, F&M English professor and department chair Judith Mueller. They filled out the online application for a chapter at F&M. Once the paperwork was complete, they set out recruiting members.
“Students have been really ready to get things started as well. We have about 40 people involved, from both sides of the English major (literature and creative writing), so it’s going to be really fun!” Meneghin said.
Students hoping to be inducted into Sigma Tau Delta must be declared English majors of junior or senior standing, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and pay membership dues.
In addition to offering English students a platform for more academic opportunities, Meneghin feels that the society with help bridge the gap between those students who specialize in creative writing and those who specialize in literature.
“I feel like there is a divide, since we are involved in different classes as seniors. Us writers don’t really know what the lit kids have to do for their academics, and the lit majors never get a chance to listen to/read our writing,” Meneghin explained. “While a person can be one type of reader and a different type of writer, I truly believe we can benefit a lot from collaborating with each other.”
In order to help foster that collaboration, the society will have one creative writing co-president, currently Meneghin, and one literature president, currently Urbanski.
For the remainder of this year, Meneghin says the society will focus on planning their induction ceremony and organizing a senior ceremony to showcase their creative writing as well as literature-based and research-based papers. After that, it will be in hands of future members to determine the direction of the organization.
Meneghin is very optimistic about the future success of the organization and how it will benefit F&M’s community.
“This honor society will not only give English majors a way to showcase their hard work on campus, but the society also opens up a greater world beyond campus as well,” Meneghin said. “It’s going to be exciting for students down the line!”
Ellie Gavin in the Assistant Campus Life editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.