Sigma Tau Delta
As a declared major or minor in English or Writing, you may be invited to join the Gamma Pi chapter of the International English Honorary Society, Sigma Tau Delta. Our chapter, established in 1981, includes current dues-paying majors and minors who have met the academic standards required, as well as Department faculty members inducted as honorary (and largely inactive) members.
The purpose of Sigma Tau is not only to honor students who appreciate good writing but to help promote that love in others. Sigma Tau has sponsored readings by guest writers and our own talent, celebrated Shakespeare's birthday and Walt Whitman Day, hosted October campfire readings, Poem and Cookie Day--our version of the former Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky's, Favorite Poem Project--and the organization has sponsored faculty readings as well as upcoming senior project readings.
Apart from these campus-wide events, service to the community includes tutoring for students taking the English and American Lit survey courses; there have also been attempts to carry out creative writing projects with children and nursing-home residents in Oneonta, and each year the organization arranges a Thanksgiving basket to help needy families in the community. Some club events are largely social, such as a Halloween reading at the Pine Lake Environmental Campus, and an end-of-senior-thesis party. Although Student Senate funds support many of the club's activities, the members supplement expenses with these occasional fund-raisers and with annual dues of $10.
A few students have taken advantage of the larger network of the international society by attending the regional or national conference of Sigma Tau. These conventions are a prime opportunity for you to get experience presenting an academic paper in public. If you are considering going on to a doctoral program in English or applying for a prestigious scholarship, having a paper accepted for one of these conferences is definitely an asset!
So, too, would be the honor--not to mention the financial rewards--of receiving a national scholarship from Sigma Tau. There are awards for graduate study and for beginning teaching; if you wish to compete for these, see Professor Suarez Hayes, the Sigma Tau advisor, in the fall term for further information.
Although club activities are both co-curricular and social, invitation to Sigma Tau Delta is based strictly upon academic standards, as calculated by the Registrar's Office. Twice a year, invitations go out to declared majors and minors who, having taken at least three units of English (excluding Composition 110), have achieved a 3.0 or better in English and a 3.0 or higher overall GPA Those who accept the invitation pay an initiation fee of $30. There is no pledging involved, and only a pleasant initiation ceremony (usually including dinner or brunch.)
Members in good standing--that is, those who support the club activities with both their efforts and their dues--are allowed to wear honor cords in the Sigma Tau Delta colors of carnelian (red) and black at Commencement. To avoid disappointment or misunderstanding, seniors should make themselves aware of the prevailing requirements for wearing honor cords.