Four members of William Woods University’s Eta Mu Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta attended the national conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., March 23-26. There they heard authors and poets, attended panel discussions and participated in workshops.
Students Andrea Weed of Kansas, City, Mo.; Erin Crooks of Fulton, Mo.; Jenny Kesel of Catawissa, Mo., and Leigh Rice of Mokane, Mo., were accompanied by Erik Hillskemper, chapter sponsor and English professor.
In addition to members of Sigma Tau Delta, convention participants included representatives of Sigma Kappa Delta from two-year colleges and the National English Honor Society from high schools.
Sigma Tau Delta, an international English honor society, was established in 1924 to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate and professional studies. Chapters have been established at colleges and universities in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean.
The honor society conducts community service projects that foster literacy and all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language and writing. At WWU, Sigma Tau Delta organizes a book sale and a Young Writer’s Competition for middle school students.
Speakers at the convention included authors and poets Lorene Cary, Dave Eggers, Kay Ryan and Jacqueline Woodson. William Woods students had the opportunity to hear Ryan speak, have their books autographed and a picture taken with her.
The students visited numerous sessions, where they observed English majors from other universities read their original works.
“It was great seeing where we compared to other chapters,” said Weed, a senior.
Eta Mu members also attended panel discussions and workshops where they gathered information on event planning, grant writing, what to do with a B.A. in English and much more.
Crooks, a junior, said, “I would like to see the William Woods chapter become so involved with Sigma Tau Delta that our chapter is presenting at panels and sessions.”
During their free time, Eta Mu members had the opportunity to see Pittsburgh. Members tasted a variety of food, including Indian and Mediterranean. They also experienced Primanti Bros. Restaurant, a Pittsburgh tradition since 1933. Students also saw the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center and the Andy Warhol Museum.
“It was nice to show our students that being an English major is more than reading books,” says Hillskemper.
Members of Eta Mu hope to attend next year’s Sigma Tau Delta convention in New Orleans.
Participants in the Sigma Tau Delta convention from William Woods University are (left to right) Leigh Rice, Erik Hillskemper, Erin Crooks, Jenny Kesel and Andrea Weed.