Taking Care of Our Own: Chi Theta Chapter Demonstrates Charity
January 2008 - As a returning student, commuter Joyce Hutsell defined the term non-traditional student in a unique way: she was 75 years old. In May 2007, she received her B.A. in English from West Texas A&M University in Canyon Texas. The Chi Theta chapter had welcomed Joyce as a member in 2005; she served as secretary for the 2006-2007 term. She says, "Sigma Tau Delta members made me feel welcome and enabled me to be a part of an exciting year. My age and commuter status might otherwise have robbed me of the opportunity to know so many wonderful new friends."
The chapter maintains a traditionally high profile on campus. Recruitment of new members and participation in campus-wide orientation creates knowledge of the organization. Representation on administrative and academic boards determining campus policy also help to keep the organization's name in view. Members spearhead two main projects each year. In the fall semester, "Banned Books Week" observation involves an active booth at the student union, with books and T-shirts. This provides the basis for visiting with students about the study of English, literature, books, and the larger issue of censorship.
The chapter hosts a Middle School Papers Conference in the spring. As many as five hundred young writers and readers attend. They learn to value the presentation of their written work as a learning tool and as experience for the future. This acquaints Sigma Tau Delta throughout regional schools.
"...the entire chapter of Sigma Tau Delta at West Texas A&M University can be seen as individual heroes..."
Joyce's husband, Ralph, after undergoing surgeries in December and January, once again had heart surgery in March 2007. The cumulative effect of one more illness greatly influenced Joyce's ability to continue classwork and Sigma Tau Delta secretarial duties. "No one complained," continues Joyce. "They just quietly took over some of my duties for the conference. I didn't even know my benefactors. They must have all assisted." Then, without being asked, members prepared, coordinated, and delivered ten days' worth of meals to the Hutsell couple. "I know who delivered the supplies and meals, but I do not yet know which members participated in this saving measure. Many of these individuals will be anonymous forever."
Anonymity may be best. Now the entire chapter of Sigma Tau Delta at West Texas A&M University can be seen as individual heroes, quietly serving wherever needed. Their reward is to honor their organization and their university.
This article is reprinted from the fall 2007 Southwestern Newsletter and written by Joyce Hutsell, Chi Theta Chapter, West Texas A&M University.