JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 24, 2012 – For the 10th straight year, the Phi Alpha Theta chapter at Union University received the Best Chapter Award from the Phi Alpha Theta national organization for the division of schools with enrollment between 3,001 and 6,000 students.
The Delta-Psi chapter also earned the Nels A. Cleven Award for Division II, an award given to chapters that have been named Best Chapter five times or more.
Few chapters in the national history honor society have won as many Best Chapter awards, said Stephen Carls, chair of Union’s history department and university professor of history. Carls has been the Delta-Psi chapter advisor since 1983.
The award includes a $250 donation to Union’s library, which will be used to purchase history books.
Delta-Psi student leaders consistently take the initiative to plan both educational and community-building events, which are keys to the chapters’ success, Carls said.
“Caitlin Roach was the chapter president last year and showed boundless enthusiasm in leading the chapter,” Carls said. “Caitlin and Savannah (German, the chapter’s vice president) were a wonderful leadership team, and they were decisive in organizing chapter activities.”
Activities during the 2011-2012 academic year included a trip in November to a “Kirkin’ of the Tartans” service, which celebrated Scottish heritage with a bagpipe band. In the spring, the chapter members visited a battle reenactment during the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Shiloh, a key Civil War battle fought in Hardin County, Tenn.
Delta-Psi members also attended the regional Phi Alpha Theta convention and spent a day working on the restoration of a historic theater in Bemis, Tenn.
“Engaging in historical renovation is something the students can carry with them,” Carls said. “It’s a very rich experience for them; it exposes them to a new area of the community.”
Jeffrey Lewoczko, a senior history and physics major, is the 2012-2013 president of the Delta-Psi chapter. He said the schedule this year emphasizes service in the community and fellowship between history department students and faculty.
The first service project of the semester took place early in the morning Sept. 15. Several Delta-Psi members volunteered at a 5k and 10k run, the proceeds of which supported Rein-bow Riding Academy, an arm of West Tennessee Healthcare that provides hippotherapy for children with special needs.
“As a member of Phi Alpha Theta, students get the opportunity to come together and get to know each other and our faculty better,” Lewoczko said. “In addition, we get to promote awareness of our department and history both at Union and in the surrounding community.”
By Samantha Adams (’13)