Story by Andrea Lopez, for The Muleskinner
Dating back to 1959, Sigma Tau Delta is one of the oldest organizations still present at UCM.
UCM’s Gamma Theta chapter participates in an array of academic, service, and social activities.
As the most prestigious English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta allows its members to network in the field of English through literature conferences and workshops, while working alongside professionals.
Sigma Tau Delta is simply devoted to the love and teaching of literature.
To become a member of the affiliation, a UCM student must have at least a 3.0 GPA in English, be an English major and have completed two college courses in the English language of literature.
What they do on campus that stands apart from the national charter is that they do everything they can to bring literary awareness.
“We have the opportunity here to feed the passion for literature regardless if that is your field of study,” said Joseph Alfino, president of the society.
Sigma Tau Delta partners with Pleiades and the visiting writers series to bring in nationally recognized big talent writers to read their work here on campus.
In fact, on average, there are four different published authors who do a reading at UCM every semester.
Most recently in mid-October, Dana Levin, the author of three poetry collections, visited the campus to share her work. She left with a positive experience and good attendance.
Bringing this outside talent to the campus promotes an enjoyment of reading in several ways.
Events are free to the public, so the entire campus community has an opportunity to hear notable writers read their work.
“We are pretty proud of: a) We can come up with the funds to bring these people in and b) By association, we have these large name writers who are putting UCM on their map,” Alfino said.
Outside the English department, Sigma Tau Delta remains involved with campus events.
Marching in this year’s Homecoming parade, the association handed out not only candy but dictionaries to the kids.
“I was pleased to see that kids wanted books,” Alfino said. “I cannot say that I saw a child who was disappointed when they were handed a dictionary, which is a good sign for the future.”.
From Nov. 13-15, Sigma Tau Delta will be hosting its annual book sale.
Located in the English department lounge, third floor Martin, it will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
As their personal drive to raise money for the organization, the sale will give students a chance to purchase books on campus that do not cost a fortune.
As for the growth of the chapter, Alfino said he would like to see them partake in expanding not only the number of authors they help bring through, but also the more varied disciplines.
“It would be great if we raised enough money and noise with the writers we bring in now to get someone like Noam Chomsky on the radar or someone like that, big literary critics that come in and give speeches at universities,” Alfino said.
In order to do so, the student population that loves literature needs to realize that this is available to them because the more attendance goes up, the more of a demand there is for it.
On Nov. 8, authors Debra Brenegan and Bayard Godsave will be doing a reading of their work in Union 235 at 2 p.m.
“We are a small market school, but I think in the same way that our athletic department has aspirations of being a Division I team in sports, I have aspirations of being a Division I Liberal Arts school,” Alfino said.