Hartwick English Honor Society Marks 30 Years

November 21, 2011

At the Sigma Tau Delta 2012 International Convention, the Hartwick College chapter of the English Honor Society will receive special recognition. The local chapter, Gamma Pi, has been honoring excellent students who appreciate good writing & helping to promote that love in others for the last 30 years.

"We want students to be able to expand what they know about the world," explained Elizabeth Celata '12, current president of the Gamma Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. "The best way to do that is to read other people's work, to incorporate their understanding, and to expand what you learn."

The international English Honor Society boasts more than 800 active chapters in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean. Sigma Tau Delta's central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.

Here at Hartwick, the Gamma Pi chapter has been doing its part since 1981. Advised by Assistant Professor of English Julia Suarez-Hayes, the group tutors students, hosts visiting writers and sponsors English-oriented events throughout the year, like the Halloween-themed Scary Story Day, a Banned Books Week table, and Poem & A Cookie Day, after former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's "Favorite Poem Project". The chapter also pitches in for community service events, including sponsoring a Thanksgiving Basket for a local family in need.

Gamma Pi's largest effort, however, is its Book Drive each spring. With Better World Books, chapter members distribute collection bins in each building on campus to solicit donations. These books are then distributed to schools, students, and organizations in need.

"We accept all types of books - fiction, foreign language books, textbooks" explained Celata. "If students can't sell their textbooks back they should definitely give them to us, because there are students who can't afford the books. It's been a great community effort - local church groups for instance have given us probably thousands of books over the years."

For Celata, the work of the Gamma Pi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is critical - not only for community service, but for the advancement of learning at Hartwick College and beyond.

"It doesn't matter what your major is and what you want to go into, you have to be able to express yourself," Celata said. "If you can't express yourself, you won't be able to change the world. You have to understand how to write a speech before you can give a speech."

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030