The President's Corner
Setting the Stage for the Year Ahead
Some thirty years ago, I was inducted into Sigma Tau Delta at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. For me, as a graduating senior, became a line on my résumé and graduate school applications, but not much more. When I began graduate school at Saint Louis University, I learned that there was no chapter there, so with the help of some of my classmates and a willing faculty member, we chartered a chapter. This was my first beyond-the-résumé involvement with . As I continued with my education, I maintained my membership, and when I scored my first full time job I was delighted to find out that the Iota Omega Chapter, at Franklin Pierce, was going to be part of my life. However, it wasn't until I became a Sponsor that I realized how much Sigma Tau Delta has to offer to its members.
While the organization certainly can serve as a line on a résumé, there is so much more it can do for its members. It took me some time to get there, but I came to realize that offered scholarships and awards for chapter activity, and an annual convention where students could present their original critical and creative work. For my Iota Omega Chapter itself, we could do more than have an annual induction ceremony and dinner; there was campus and local community service to be done, as well as literacy-promoting events—banned books readouts, The African American Read-In Chain, Jumpstart's Read for the Record, poetry slams and Mad Hatter Tea parties, and chalking poems on buildings and sidewalks for National Poetry Month. It became clear that this was an organization that gave back as much as we were able to put into it.
As a Sponsor, I made a commitment to help my student members get as much out of the organization, at both the local and national level, as they could. And it wasn't much longer until I myself, as a Sponsor, decided that I could do the same and began to look into opportunities to get more involved myself, beginning with service as a non-board member of the Scholarship Committee. I now understood that our student members had roles to play, and so did I. Now, as our thoughts are back to all things academic and we get ready for a new year with our Sigma Tau Delta chapters, Sponsors, and members, as we move into the fall of 2012, I ask you to consider: how will you serve?
If "all the world's a stage," then so too is our organization. And for our production to work, our show to go on, we rely on the willing hands, heads, and hearts of our members, and we function best when everyone participates. With that in mind, what role can you—will you—play? Just as on the stage there are myriad roles to take on, Sigma Tau Delta provides a wide range of possibilities for you. Whether you choose a leading role or elect to take on a more behind-the-scenes option, there is a place for you in your school's chapter and on the national or international stage.
It's time for you to do some thinking and decide how you can help the show to go on. So all of you out there, Sponsors, members, members-in-the-making, consider how you can best use your talents and time and contribute to this year's production. What will you do? Will you make time for your chapter meetings, brainstorm with your fellow members, and participate in all of your chapter activities? Will you design the flyers for your chapter's events and post them around your campus? Will you answer the call for convention submissions and send in that critical paper on Hardy or your newest villanelle? If a leading role doesn't suit you, then take on a behind-the-scenes role and book the venue for your banned books readout or contact the local elementary school and find out when you can go and read to the first graders. Maybe you'll head up the fundraising efforts and apply for university funds to travel to the Portland Convention. Or maybe you'll decide to put your application package together and shoot for the stars for one of the scholarships or awards. Perhaps this is the year you will run for Student Representative or, if you are a Sponsor, you'll volunteer to serve on one of the Board's standing committees, judging convention submissions or literary magazines.
Whatever you decide, Sigma Tau Delta is here for. From my own experience and evolution as a Sigma Tau Delta member, I'd encourage you to do more than be a spectator—get involved with the production and remember no role is too small. The stage is waiting, so step up on it and show us what you've got!