Ouachita Baptist University’s chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society has recently been named a Star Chapter for the 2011-12 academic year. Alpha Chi is comprised of the top 10 percent of juniors and seniors at Ouachita. In addition to individual academic standards, Alpha Chi members must meet group requirements to be recognized as a Star Chapter.
Among the requirements for becoming a Star Chapter, groups must send at least one sponsor and one student member to the annual regional/national convention and at least one of those students must present during the event.
At the Super-Regional Convention Program last year, Reuben Cash, a recent Ouachita graduate, presented “Bailing Out America,” winning in the business category and fulfilling one of the requirements for Star Chapters. Dr. Lori Hensley, Ouachita’s Alpha Chi sponsor, associate professor of biology and holder of J.D. Patterson Chair of Biology, served as a facilitator for a session of anthropology and sociology presentations.
To be a Star Chapter, members must also host at least one scholarly program on campus during the academic year.
Ouachita’s Alpha Chi members fulfilled this requirement by sponsoring a seminar for OBU’s health professions class each fall. This past fall, the guest speaker was Sunnie Ewing, the director of student recruitment for the Southern College of Optometry, who spoke to students about pursuing careers in medical fields. Tom South, the director of admissions for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, was invited in 2011.
“I see my role as sponsor as mostly administrative,” Hensley said, “but the students do the real work.”
In the academic year for which Ouachita’s Alpha Chi won the Star Chapter award, Kimberly Carlton, a recent Ouachita graduate, served as president; Jason Curlin, a senior English major from Arkadelphia, Ark., was vice president; and Jessica Lamb, a senior English major from Bedford, Texas, was the club’s secretary. Lamb has since become the new vice president for the 2012-13 academic year. The current president for Alpha Chi is Samantha Street, a senior accounting major from Rogers, Ark.
“I feel like all of the Alpha Chi members have not only represented the organization well, but Ouachita too,” Street said. “Receiving the Star Chapter Award this year is definitely an honor, and I’m proud to be a part of such a great group.”
Members last year also qualified for Kluck Service Enrichment Grants, which provide up to $250 to student organizations for service-related projects. Alpha Chi’s service project included buying books for a local daycare, which they then delivered and read to the children.
“It is so fun to spend time reading with young children and getting them excited about good books,” Lamb said. “I’ve loved seeing a club that honors academic excellence on campus and spends time with kids, making them excited about reading, as well.”
Last year, Curlin became an alternate winner for the 2012 Alpha Chi Scholarship and Fellowship Competition, having submitted his scholarship application alongside Judith Brizuela, a senior psychology major from Cortes, Honduras.
There are currently 78 Alpha Chi members on campus and more students will be invited to join within the next few weeks. This organization, however, had not always been so active at Ouachita.
“I was asked to resurrect the organization on campus and raise its profile,” Hensley noted. She has been the club’s sponsor since 2004 and worked hard to put Alpha Chi back on students’ radar.
Now, Alpha Chi members at Ouachita enjoy a public induction ceremony that kick starts every Scholars Day, graduation cords in blue and green to wear during commencement ceremonies and T-shirts bearing the society’s name that are visible around campus.
“The idea for the public induction ceremony and the graduation cords came from the first national convention I attended in Indianapolis,” Hensley noted.
“I hope that students continue to see being a member of Alpha Chi as a reward for the hard work they put into their classes,” Lamb added. “As an academic honor society that spans across disciplines and majors, it is a unique honor.”
A formal awards ceremony for Star Chapters will be held at the 2013 National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., April 4-6. Hensley will attend to judge student presentations in the biology category and hopes to bring Ouachita Alpha Chi members along as well.
For more information, contact Lori Hensley at email@example.com or (870) 245-5529.
By Rachel Gregory