Twelve members inducted into SIUE’s first Spanish honor society through ceremony

In an ambient ceremony that included classical Spanish guitar music as a backdrop and candlelit readings of Spanish poetry, SIUE saw the induction of 12 members in the local chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, a new student organization on campus.

The first ever group of Spanish honor society members were inducted into the local chapter of Sigma Delta Pi. Photo by Theresa San Luis.

Spanish professor Heidy Carruthers serves as advisor of Alpha Alpha Epsilon, SIUE’s local chapter of Sigma Delta Pi. The non-profit organization was founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1919.

She said the purpose of organization is to honor those students who attain excellence in the study of the Spanish language, literature, and culture of the Spanish-speaking peoples, for students to connect and share their love for the language and culture, and to promote teaching and learning of Hispanic language and culture.

According to Carruthers, students have opportunities to go receive awards, projects and research grants, project grants, go to conferences, and apply for scholarships to study abroad through the national organization.

“It opens the door to a lot of scholarly and service activities for students who have become members,” she said.

Carruthers added that she thinks the organization is great for Spanish majors and minors to be more engaged in the Foreign Languages and Literature department’s activities and university life to serve and promote Spanish language and culture.

Members inducted include the following: Kim Miller, Chase Tiffany, Carmen Connors, Micaela Creech, Tori Renth, Breann Speraneo, Bailey Weems, Caitlin Lally, Chelsea Nipper, Donna Rastenis, Wyatt Teague and Matt Ehrhardt.

Alpha Alpha Epsilon president Kimee Miller, also a junior Spanish education major, said she hopes for the student organization to launch scholarships for Spanish majors at SIUE, to read to children in Spanish at local libraries, and to partner with the Hispanic Student Union on campus.

Officers spoke Spanish during the entire ceremony–announcing by-laws of the society, and reading portions of literary works such as “Soneto a Cervantes” by Rubén Darío,      “Despedida” by Jorge Luis Borges, and a selected piece from “Don Quijote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes.  Inductees received red carnations upon signing their name for official membership. A table, adorned by a mother candle and red and gold ribbons were symbols to represent the society, according to Miller.

“It’s interesting,” Miller said. “It’s not like anything I’ve seen before.”

Sophomore inductee Micaela Creech said the ceremony was good and fun.

“It was something different,” she said.

Creech added that it feels good to be part of a group of many other people who want to speak Spanish.

Senior Carmen Connors handed out the certificates and said it was really cool knowing that this was the first time everybody had been here.

“I know we really needed a Spanish honor society on campus,” Connors said. “It was really nice being part of that.”

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