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Lambda Sigma Sophomore Honor Society

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Lambda Sigma is a co-ed sophomore honor society made up of second-year students from a broad spectrum of majors and backgrounds at Northern Illinois University. Members are chosen from the first-year class of NIU students who have earned a 3.2 grade point average or higher in the fall semester, are involved in the university and the community and exemplify Lambda Sigma’s four pillars: fellowship, scholarship, leadership and service. A maximum of 50 members may be selected annually.

If you're eligible for Lambda Sigma based on your first-semester grade point average (minimum 3.20 with at least 12 credit hours completed), you'll be contacted in late January of your freshman year.

You’ll receive a certificate of membership from the National Lambda Sigma organization, a membership pin and the biannual national newsletter, The Diamond. Along with these benefits, you also have the opportunity to meet and work with other outstanding sophomore students.

Chapter activities include community service projects such as volunteering with Feed ‘Em Soup, “Rake Across DeKalb,” Hope Haven homeless shelter, the Chicago Marathon and NIU’s Dance Marathon. The chapter also supports the national Lambda Sigma Service Project by working with underprivileged and at-risk youth. Members joined in the efforts by participating in “Sophomore Days of Service,” a series of events aimed to help youth and adults around the DeKalb area. Fundraisers and other events such as volunteering with Campus Child Care, DeKalb County Nursing Home and “The Royal Children’s Ball” are held to aid the community. University service projects include a long-standing tradition of ushering for productions by the School of Theatre and Dance. Furthermore, members hold various fundraisers as well as social events, such as volleyball at the recreation center, a semi-formal dance and movie nights throughout the year. Study nights at Founder's Memorial Library also are part of Lambda Sigma's culture at NIU.

Membership includes nominal expenses such as local and national dues and the annual chapter t-shirt (optional). Members who meet the chapter’s attendance/participation policy are eligible to purchase honors cords (in Lambda Sigma’s colors of blue and gold) to be worn at commencement.

Partial scholarship assistance for dues may be available by contacting the chapter’s faculty advisors.

The chapter meets, at minimum, once every other week for general meetings. Regular attendance is required to maintain active member status. Ushering commitments are also mandatory as is participation in some fundraisers and service events. At the beginning of the year, members select committees for fundraising, public relations, fall homecoming/spring formal and service involvements. You are expected to be actively involved in committee work and to support the chapter’s program of activities.

In the spring of 1931, Nu Alpha Lambda was established as a sophomore women’s honor society at what was then Northern Illinois State Teacher’s College. Its purpose was to foster higher standards in education and to promote leadership and service to the college among freshman women.

In 1954, under the guidance of the Dean of Women, Ruth Haddock, Nu Alpha Lambda petitioned for membership into Cwens, a national sophomore honor society for women. Cwens thrived throughout the years due to the efforts of many outstanding members, officers and advisors. Lambda Sigma continues to be a strong and active honor society at NIU. The chapter celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding in 2014. The Nu Alpha Lambda officers and advisors were initiated in DeKalb, Illinois on December 5, 1954.

Since its beginning, Cwens (now Lambda Sigma) has seen changes in its campus, organization and focus, while maintaining some long-standing traditions. Northern Illinois State Teachers College became Northern Illinois University in 1957 and now enrolls approximately 21,000 students in six undergraduate colleges, the College of Law and The Graduate School.

The most dramatic change in Omicron Chapter’s history came in the fall of 1976 when the chapter was informed that Cwens had been dissolved as a result of federal Title IX legislation and that a new national organization was being formed. Delegates to the constituting conference returned with enthusiasm for the new coed organization, Lambda Sigma. At the first NIU Lambda Sigma initiation on April 22, 1977, 18 men and 27 women were inducted into the chapter. Lambda Sigma members determine their program of social, service and educational events annually. A long-standing project has been ushering for productions of the NIU School of Theatre and Dance. Other recent projects have included volunteering for the Chicago Marathon, hosting library study and nights and coordinating Sophomore Days of Service. The Omicron Chapter, proud of its past in Cwens, has always looked forward with optimism to its future.

Omicron Chapter has a long tradition of achievement and is regularly named an Honor Chapter by the National Board. In 2014, Omicron Chapter was named one of the two recipients of Lambda Sigma's "Most Outstanding Chapter" award, an honor shared with the Alpha Chapter at the University of Pittsburgh. Many recipients of the Lambda Sigma National Scholarship have come from the the Omicron Chapter, as have several past student representatives on the national board. The current national president of Lambda Sigma, Denise Rode, is an almuna and advisor of the Northern Illiniois Univeristy Omicron Chapter.

The Omicron Chapter is one of 40 chapters that make up the Lambda Sigma National Honor Society across the nation. Lambda Sigma Society sponsors a national service project; currently the focus is on working with at-risk and underprivileged youth. Each chapter is encouraged to devote at least one program or project to this cause.

The national organization also awards five $1,000 scholarships to outstanding members of Lambda Sigma chapters annually. Each chapter may nominate one individual for scholarship consideration. Past Omicron Chapter recipients of national scholarships include Eric Voss (1985-1986), Jennifer Stanley (1995-1996), Krystal Kleinschmidt (2001-2002), Michael Usalis (2002-2003), Deidre Cwian (2010-2011), Jenifer Camery (2011-2012), Tyler Hendry (2012-2013) and Shawna Johnson (2013-2014).

The Omicron Chapter has been well represented on the national board for many years. Those who have served or are serving include Denise Rode (past national recording secretary and current president), Geoffrey Bevington (student representative), Al Fisher (student representative) and Justin Larsen (student representative).

Each fall, the Lambda Sigma chapter presidents and the national board meet for leadership training and fellowship on a college campus which hosts a Lambda Sigma chapter. The Omicron Chapter at NIU hosted 50 guests for the Presidents’ Conference in 2011.

Lambda Sigma’s chapter cycles each spring and inducts a new chapter for the upcoming school year. If you're interested in applying for membership in the 2018-2019 Omicron Chapter or would like more information, please come to one of our information nights.

We'll discuss the interview and application process, as well as the unique opportunities and friendships that can be made in Lambda Sigma. You'll meet current and prospective members and learn about the four pillars of Lambda Sigma: scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service. If you're unable to attend an information night please email one of the advisors with your name and request and we'll respond to you promptly. It's strongly recommended that you attend an information night if at all possible.

Contact Us

First- and Second-Year Experience
Altgeld Hall 100
815-753-0028
fsye@niu.edu