By Ashley Maisano
Founded in 1996, Sigma Kappa Delta is a National English Honor Society of two-year colleges nationwide which recognizes and rewards outstanding achievement in English language and literature and provides immense opportunities for students.
As a member, you are able to achieve good professional interaction among your peers and display high standards of academic achievement.
Sigma Kappa Delta exists at schools all over the United States and is just one chapter at Suffolk. You don’t necessarily need to be an English major, but it is important that you demonstrate an interest and proficiency in literature and writing.
The cost to join is a one time only fee of $30, and you must have no grade lower than a B in English and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.3.
“I’ve always been involved in clubs in high school and I’ve always tried to be in honor societies, but I’ve never had a high enough grade point average,” explains Amanda Friedman, sophomore at Suffolk. But my grade point average is finally suitable to be a part of Sigma Kappa Delta, so I’m going to try it out.”
The induction ceremony will take place on May 10, 2012, where members will receive a certificate and a pin.
“The good thing is, once you’re in, you’re in,” says Dr. Burns, a professor who runs Sigma Kappa Delta at Suffolk. “Once you’re a member, you get enrolled in the database so you can transfer schools and still be in the honor society, as long as they have it at that school.”
As a member of this honor society, you can attend art exhibits, plays, musical concerts, field trips, and performances. You can partake in poetry slams, open mic nights, writer readings, and literary and cultural events. There are also movie nights on campus as well as book, film, music, and cultural discussions.
Students are encouraged to come to the meetings, even if they’re not sure if they want to become a member or not. Anyone can come and join in on the discussions, without having to pay the $30 fee, but then you won’t actually be a part of the society nor receive the certificate and pin.
The down side is that the school doesn’t pay for Sigma Kappa Delta, or any other honor society for that matter.
“Because it’s exclusionary, the school doesn’t pay for it,” explains Dr. Burns. “It’s a big honor for the school and reflects it well, so I think the school should come up with a way to support it.”
At Suffolk, there are many events the honor society has planned for the upcoming months. In the beginning of March, they will watch “Bug,” a film based on the play by Tracy Letts. They will also read “Lolita,” a novel by Vladimir Nabokov. After this, the society will get together and have a discussion about the movie and the book, sharing their opinions and insights with their fellow members. There will be an “African American read-in,” at the end of February, where members will bring their favorite stories or poems by African Americans to discuss with the rest of the society. An upcoming field trip that they will be attending is to the Bodies Exhibit in New York City in April.
“When we go on field trips, we need transportation, food, and things like that, so the school tries to pay the most expensive thing for us, which usually is the transportation,” said Dr. Burns.
Being a part of Sigma Kappa Delta is a good thing to be able to put on your resume or transfer application, and the benefits don’t end there. There are many scholarships and awards that you can apply for as a member. The writing awards include categories such as literary analysis, short fiction, essay, and poetry. There is also a photography contest that gives awards to first, second and third place.
Lindsey Mcdonald, president of Sigma Kappa Delta at Suffolk, explained how important this society is to her.
“I’m really passionate about English, so this is great for me,” said Lindsey. “This is my third semester in the society, and first as president.”
Last semester, Lindsey was the treasurer of Sigma Kappa Delta and the semester before that she was just a regular member. She plans to transfer to St. Josephs to get her degree in secondary English education and will continue to be a contributing part of the society.
If you love to write poetry, read books, analyze movies, or even just share your insights and opinions on all things English, then Sigma Kappa Delta might be a great opportunity for you to express yourself.
Meetings are every Wednesday at 11 a.m. in room 206 of the Islip Arts building on the Ammerman campus.
If you want to join or have any questions you can contact Dr. William Burns at 631-451-4537 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.