Honors organizations boost driven students

Rachel Cross

The honors organizations at Grand Valley State University all come together to volunteer, collaborate and provide leadership to the campus community. But the university at large isn’t the only entity that benefits from these societies, which render their members at an advantage, as well.

GVSU currently has eight honors organizations: the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda, Psi Chi, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Kappa Beta Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, Iota Iota Iota (Triota), Alpha Phi Sigma and Alpha Psi Omega.

Valerie Jones, assistant director of Student Life and adviser for the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, said each semester the number of students admitted into the society varies but is usually between 30 and 50.

“For this honors society, you have to be at least a junior status and it’s open to graduate students, faculty, staff and undergraduates who must have a 3.3 GPA or higher,” Jones said, adding that the organization is highly based on the idea of possessing and developing strong leadership skills in the five phases of campus life. These phases include scholarship, athletics, campus or community service/social, religious activities or campus government, journalism/speech or mass media, and creative/ performing arts.

“We are one of the only leadership honors societies that focus on students in a lot of disciplines for upperclassmen leadership on campus,” Jones said. “ODK is one of the longest standing honors societies that was founded in 1914, and we’re part of a national network of higher achievers.”

Scholarship opportunities and grants are further benefits that members of honors societies enjoy.

Tenki Yamada, financial officer for Alpha Phi Sigma, said there is no limitation to how many students are admitted, but there are currently 16 members. In order to be accepted, undergraduate students must have a major or minor in criminal justice, have three full-time semesters completed and have an overall GPA of a 3.2 within this major. For graduate students, they must be enrolled in a master’s or doctorate program in the criminal justice field, have a minimum of 12 semester hours of graduate work and have a minimum GPA of 3.4 in criminal justice work.

Some of the events that APS has participated in include various guest speakers coming from different fields within criminal justice, as well an event called ‘mock interview,’ which mimicked a job interview with criminal justice professionals providing experiences and advice to the members.

“There will also be a ‘shooting event’ coming up, where members can learn the practical use of firearms with instructors at a shooting range,” Yamada said. “The goal of the organization is to promote excellence, community involvement, leadership and organizational experience. The organization promotes critical thinking, rigorous scholarship and lifelong learning, to keep abreast of the advances in scientific research, to elevate the ethical standards of the criminal justice professions and to sustain in the public mind of the benefit and necessity of education and professional training.”

Garrett Sawyer, president of Iota Iota Iota, leads an honors society in which the members are interested in women and gender studies. Triota is open to people who have completed at least two women and gender studies courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Sawyer said there is no limitation on the number of people admitted into the honors society, just so long as they meet the necessary requirements.

“During the last induction ceremony, seven to 11 members were inducted into our society,” Sawyer said. “Our adviser will go through a system to search for students with the necessary requirements and will send out emails to these individuals to seek new members.”

III has sponsored and cosponsored several events, including National Eating Disorder week and a recent event called “Fat Talk.” At this event, a member discussed body image.

“The one thing that honors societies in general share is that we are all student organizations where people from the community can share their interests in common,” Sawyer said. “As we become more visible on campus, there will be a higher turnout of people attending certain events and becoming aware.”

For more information on the honors organizations on campus, visit www.gvsu.edu/studentlife/student-organization-listing-135.htm.

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