Chapter Activity Reports
Once again, Gamma Theta Upsilon chapters have reported on an amazing variety of activities. Of particular note were the many chapters participated in the "Textbooks for Ethiopia" project for which the Chi chapter at Oklahoma State University served as the principal collection site. Geography Bowls were held at Valparaiso University, Northwest Missouri State University, Wayne State College, the University of Toledo, and the University of Richmond. GTU chapters continue to be active in sponsoring Geography Awareness Week activities, spreading knowledge of geography to their campuses and communities. Chapters held workshops, colloquia, and hosted speakers as part of the Visiting Geographical Scientist program. Beta Xi at the University of Missouri for example held a workshops on social media and professional futures, internships, and non-academic writing. Eta Lambda at Villanova University invited recent graduates to talk about their job searches and employment experiences. Lambda Upsilon at Grand Rapids Community College not only hosted a variety of speakers but has also posted videos of the lectures on You Tube. Chapters sponsored trips to conferences, day trips, and long distance field excursions. Delta Lambda at the University of South Alabama attended the AAG meeting in Tampa where they also found time to go to a hockey game and tour the Devil's Millhopper Geological State park. Theta Xi at West Virginia University traveled to Washington DC for a "day on the hill and to visit National Geographic. Several chapters contributed geographical expertise to serve their communities. Zeta Gamma at Jacksonville State University helped to monitor river water quality in partnership with a local organization. Zeta Theta at Northwest Missouri State collected food at their GeoBowl to donate to a local food bank. Theta Gamma at James Madison University helped to maintain a local elementary school's community garden. I hope that you'll read this year's chapter reports and be inspired to try some new things with your own chapter next year.
Dr. Michael W. Longan
Second Vice President
Gamma Theta Epsilon
Note: If your chapter is not listed here we did not receive an annual report this year. Please check back in the spring of 2015 for information on submitting a 2014-2015 annual report.
Slippery Rock University
Participated in Relay for Life, April 2014
Southern Illinois University
The SIU-Carbondale Geographers have had another busy year! GTU students participate in numerous environmental events and various campus activities to promote geography. Much of the GTU activity is linked to our active Geography Club. Students represented geography and GTU at: 1) an information campaign during Geography Awareness Week; 2) campus environmental activities: sustainability day (Fall) and Earth Day (Spring); 3) the campus student organic garden (LOGIC); 4) university Open House events to welcome new students; 5) meetings to promote all Registered Student Organizations; 6) community clean up days in town; and 7) trail maintenance in our near-by Shawnee National Forest.
Oklahoma State University
The Chi Chapter served as the principal collection point for other chapters that sent books for "Textbooks for Ethiopia." Chapter members sponsored a Geography Awareness Week table near the OSU Student Union. The chapter held a successful initiation with 40 new members. The Geography Club/GTU website can be found at: https://campuslink.okstate.edu/organization/GeographyClub
The Alpha Xi chapter co-sponsored a geography bowl in concert with geography club. The event was awarded Program of the Year at the University's Student Activities Awards. The chapter inducted new members in fall and spring ceremonies. Traditional cake and punch were enjoyed afterward.
East Central University, Oklahoma
No new members were inducted this year and hoping for a larger crop in the near future. Two members graduated last fall and one member graduated this spring.
University of Colorado at Boulder
This year, our chapter held 3 social events in the fall semester and 2 social events in spring semester. All events were very well attended and helped contribute to the camaraderie in the Geography Department. Additionally, we arranged for several activities in relation to Geography Awareness Week in the fall semester. Lastly, we began the work to incorporate undergraduates in our department's chapter, which has been a goal of the chapter since its re-establishment 4 years ago. Next year, undergraduates will be fully incorporated!
Western Michigan University
Our chapter had a quiet year as most of our current members are graduate students who were finishing their Thesis. We welcomed several new undergraduate members this spring and look forward to a great new year this coming fall with several field trips and outings already on the books.
University of Missouri
The Beta Xi Chapter at the University of Missouri (MU) hosted numerous events in partnership with the MU Geography Club, Missouri Geographic Alliance, and MU Geography Department throughout the 2013-2014 year. The following is a list of some of these events:
- August 28, 2013: workshop discussing social media and how it impacts our professional futures
- September 12: two members volunteered to help girl scouts learn about geocaching to earn their geocaching badges
- September 28-29: weekend field excursion to the state historic site of Arrow Rock
- October: MU Geography Apparel fundraiser
- October 2: Fall Initiation (13 new members)
- October 23: workshop discussing ways of finding and obtaining internships
- October 26: Homecoming Tailgate, also sold MU Geography apparel to alumni
- October 29: participated in local Halloween event for youth: we educated youth on necrogeography
- November 9: members volunteered at and/or presented at the Missouri Conference on Geography and Geographic Education; one member participated in the planning of the Conference
- December 6: End of Semester potluck for members and students/faculty/staff of MU Geography Department
- January 29, 2014: the Beta Xi chapter organized and obtained partial funding for the Etiquette Dinner, held on this day, which was open to anyone in the College of Arts and Science at MU; the Etiquette Dinner was designed to promote future success for participants by educating them on proper dining and social etiquette
- February 12: workshop on non-academic writing, including options for student publication in Missouri magazines or newspapers; writing is a great way to promote geography awareness
- February 19: Spring Initiation (8 new members)
- February 24-27: several members traveled to Washington, DC, as representatives of the Missouri Geographic Alliance to participate in the Annual Alliance Meeting and to advocate for geography education and awareness on Capitol Hill
- March 19: hosted a talk by Bob Morse, a professor from St. Charles Community College, to discuss the environmental disaster of the Taum Sauk Reservoir in southeastern Missouri
- April 4: members volunteered as facilitators at the Missouri Geography Bee
- April 8-12: several members attended the AAG meeting, and one member gave a presentation
- April 14-17: one member attended the GeoInt 2013* Symposium and was a student volunteer as part of the Student (Event) Staff
- April 29: hosted a talk by Jeff Smith, a professor from Kansas State University, on his research into 'illegal' immigration
- May 3: members participated in a Congressional Simulation, hosted by the Missouri Geographic Alliance and facilitated by the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development; the Simulation was designed to educate participants on the lawmaking process, which is important to understand when advocating for geographic education
- May 4: hosted an information booth at the local Earth Day festival to raise geography awareness within our community
- May 9: End of year BBQ for members and students/faculty/staff of MU Geography Department
- May 10: field excursion to explore the history of the Missouri River through a guided canoe tour
In conjunction with our routine monthly chapter meetings, these events kept all of our members busy. The Beta Xi chapter is always ready to rise to the challenge of piloting new events and reaching out to others in the name of geography. We look forward to another fun and successful year!
Kansas State University
- GTU assisted new grad students in learning about the area – including Friday afternoon get togethers for geographers at varying Aggieville eating and drinking establishments
- Adopt-a-highway – we took care of our highway section twice
- GTU Bowling night – once in each semester
- Money making activity – GTU provides 12 oz cans of soda in the department for a reasonable price
- GTU members along with the ASPRS local chapter took a trip to the EROS center near Sioux Falls – GTU helped get travel funding from our Student Government Association
- Brown bag talks – GTU hosts lunch hour informal presentations – there were 3 during the year
- GTU assisted with hosting our annual Alumni Speaker, Jerry Holden from Ducks Unlimited – this included getting a group of GTU students to join the speaker for lunch
- The annual department Chili Cook Off – this event is held when our Alumni Advisor Board members are on campus – prizes (funds come from GTU) for the top 3 student chili entries were awarded
- St. George meetings at off-site locations – it was the 40th anniversary of the department's St. George Geographical
- Society – GTU members designed a polo with a unique dragon logo – in addition, two meetings that combined GTU and the St George Geographical Society were held in locations away from Manhattan – the autumn event was in Annapolis, MD and enabled those attending the Applied Geography Conference to get together at the Ram's Head Tavern – in Spring, we headed to Leonardville, KS to Nelson's Landing – Leonardville is home to the Nelson family (made famous in Green Bay, WI due to former K-State All-American and now Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson)
- Geography Awareness Week (GAW) – GTU chalk sidewalks, arranged for an information table in the library along with the one we usually have in the union – GTU designed and purchased GAW buttons for distribution, and legal size, color posters that were distributed across campus with pictures and questions prompting people to think about geography were produced
- During GAW we had GTU & AAG visiting scholar, Dr. Jonnell Robinson visit and discuss her work in Syracuse related to participatory GIS and underserved areas in the city – GTU helped with posters advertising the talk and with getting a student group together to have lunch with Dr. Robinson
- In the spring semester, GTU collected 6 boxes of textbooks for Ethiopia that were delivered to Stillwater in early May
- With the visit of AAG Past-President Dr. Eric Sheppard, GTU arranged for students to have lunch with Eric, and GTU sponsored the talk in a nice room in the Union
- Throughout the year, GTU helped host potential new grad students who visited Manhattan
- GTU earns most of its funding for the year by helping with the state-level Geographic Bee and 13 active members of our GTU chapter assisted with running the Bee – the honorarium that comes with doing the Bee is awarded to GTU for their help – this activity enables the chapter to earn $1000
- 11 new members joined GTU
- GTU petitioned the Kansas Department of Transportation to advocate for the proposed Old Blue River Trail Connection
- GTU plays an active role in our annual department banquet and awards ceremony –arranged for the speaker, Sanho Tree, and arranged for Mr. Tree to give an on-campus presentation (which was sponsored by GTU) as well – Mr. Tree gave wonderful talks on the history and geography of the injustice associated with the War on Drugs
- GTU elected a new slate of leaders for 2014-15: President: Rob Briwa, Vice-President: Tyler Link, Secretary: Avantika Ramekar, and Treasurer: Bill Wetherholt
Stephen F. Austin State University
Our chapter is arranging to cover the new, higher $40 membership fee for applicants through the Chambers Fund, which is set aside for scholarships for geography majors and is named after William T. Chambers, who came to SFA in 1926 from the University of Chicago. The chapter will also co-sponsor Geography Awareness Week activities, including a fall workshop for pre-service teachers organized in partnership with the Texas Alliance for Geography Education. The only new member currently eligible in our small program will join GTU this fall. We will promote GTU to find another new member at the same time.
University of Northern Colorado
On March 12, 2014 we initiated 8 new student members into GTU. We held a dinner and initiation ceremony at an off campus restaurant. Eight currently faculty members and well as past initiates attended.
South Dakota State University
The Delta Zeta Chapter/Geography Club experienced another active academic year with several fund raising events, extracurricular happenings, and operation of the 45th Annual South Dakota State Geography Convention which occurred on 20-21 March 2014. The convention has the distinction of being the longest running, student lead such event in the U.S.
This year's meeting was punctuated by the final appearance of Dr. John Fraser Hart, the unofficial dean of American geography (U of MN), who has given presentations on his research and work at some 40 of the conventions to date. (Prof. Hart is retiring from his position later year.) Uniquely, Dr. Hart never has given a powerpoint show at the convention, always using 35mm slides, and slide projector his has used in recent years has been retired to the Dept. exhibit case, located outside of the main office. In addition to the many fine talks by invited geographers from Tennessee to California, Dr. Julie Winkler (Mich State University), the current AAG president, gave the banquet/annual awards ceremony address. A slate of new GTU/Club officers to serve during the 2014-15 academic year was elected on 29 April. Five GTU initiates will be welcomed into Delta Zeta membership on 2 May, capping out the year's activities.
University of South Alabama
A Fall Induction Ceremony brought six new members into the Delta Lambda chapter with the Spring Induction Ceremony adding three members. In November, members participated in a day field trip around the Mobile region to learn about the historical development of the cityscape. In December, we celebrated the end of the semester and the start of the holiday season with a get-together at one of the officer's homes. To continue our tradition of attending at least one conference each year, students elected to go to the AAG's Annual Meeting in Tampa. Students requested and were granted funds from the University of South Alabama's Student Government Association was used to offset the cost of the trip for students. The department also paid for part of the transportation. On the way to the meeting, we drove along historic Highway 98, visiting several sites along the way, including Little St. George Island, where students went to the top of Cape St. George Light. At the conference, students attended 69 sessions and 8 business meetings. During our time there, students also went to a hockey game and the Tampa Bay Hockey Center. We also managed to find time to go on a Ybor City Ghost Tour. On our return trip to Mobile, we visited the Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park and hiked to the bottom of the sinkhole there.
University of Mary Washington
Collected approximately 35 text books for Ethiopia.
West Liberty State College
After significant growth in the 2012-2013 with 8 new members initiated Epsilon Delta had high hopes for continuing to grow our numbers. Seven invitations were handed out to prospective members but only one student chose to join GTU this academic year. Even though this was a very small class, several active members of GTU remain on campus and we look forward to having a social event in the fall and redoubling efforts to grow our membership once again next spring.
Members served a judges at the Geographers Fair.
The Colgate chapter of GTU organized the following events in the academic year of 2013-14:
- Open house events to recruit students to register for Geography courses and to major/minor in Geography (Two sessions per each term).
- Annual GTU keynote lecture by Dr. Jonnell Robinson (Syracuse Univ.) on Nov. 7, 2013. The title of her talk was "Points, Lines and People: Plotting a Course for Community Geography"
- Induction ceremony and dinner on Nov. 7, 2013 at Colgate Inn, Hamilton.
- GTU field trip to Green Lake State Park, NY on Nov. 9, 2013. Professor Adam Burnett led the group to the area to study its unique geomorphology among other things.
- A few happy hours at local restaurants to facilitate interaction among the members and the faculty.
Jacksonville State University
This academic year (2013-2014) , we inducted 7 new members into the society. The organization met monthly teamed up with our Geography Club to volunteer at a Civilian Conservation Corp Museum at DeSoto State Park in Alabama. In addition, members of our chapter got involved in a new organization, the Jacksonville River Monitors, which is responsible for measuring water quality (chemistry and bacteriology counts) to the Alabama Water Watch. We conducted a fundraiser that generated several hundred dollars, which was partially used to fund our induction banquet.
The banquet coincided with the Jacksonville State University Alumni Shrimp Boil picnic, promoting our GTU organization with leaders of the university as well as with our alumni who now serve as professionals in a variety of local industries.
Our branch is continuing to grow and generate geography awareness.
University of Arizona
This year the chapter had several meetings throughout both semesters where we discussed current course offerings in Geography as well as the plans of our graduating seniors. Several GTU members were involved in a November peer session of graduate and undergraduate students to workshop graduate school essays and applications. This was very fruitful for those involved. In the fall semester we were sad to see longtime GTU member, Forrest Treanor graduate but happy to see him decide to stay in the Tucson area and maintain an active presence as a GTU alumni. GTU member Sophia Jones also graduated with departmental honors.
The spring semester was full of recruiting activities as well as preparations for our 5 graduating GTU members. We were happy to welcome 5 new inductees (Juan Canez, Kali Kennedy, Logan Lazalde, Carly Nichols and Dominic Martinelli) into our GTU chapter in a lovely May initiation ceremony that was emceed by our faculty sponsor, Professor Yool. Professor Chris Lukinbeahl, another faculty GTU member co-led the event. There was a very fruitful discussion between faculty and students over our mutual appreciation of all things geographic and potential future opportunities. An article was authored and featured on the departmental website to recognize those in attendance. In addition, all 5 graduating seniors opted to wear the GTU honors cords while walking in the commencement ceremony at both the College and University-wide ceremonies. At the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences convocation ceremony Dr. Yool announced our graduates names and was able to include the distinction of GTU member as he read their names. All GTU members were very pleased that this was done.
Michelle Coe, former GTU scholarship winner, and several of our new inductees are planning a GTU event for the Annual Association of Pacific Coast Geographers (APCG) Meeting which is being held at University of Arizona this September 2014 and is hosted by the School of Geography and Development. Prof. Lukinbeahl is co-leading the organizing committee and has offered to help create a GTU sponsored lunch on the Saturday of the conference to serve as a networking event for all GTU members in attendance. This summer several GTU members will be organizing and advertising this event. We look forward to what 2014-2015 academic year has in store for our chapter and hope to recruit many budding and bright young geographers in the next 9 months.
Northwest Missouri State University
The Zeta Theta Chapter held its initiation ceremony in February of 2014 inducting four new initiates. The Geography faculty, members, as well as the initiates shared a very nice dinner prepared by the standing officers after the ceremony.
In November 2013, our chapter hosted a GeoBowl activity where teams who brought canned and non-perishable food items participated in geographic trivia games. We collected the food items and sent them onto Harvesters which is the regional food bank serving the greater Kansas City area.
In April 2014, our chapter devised a geocaching activity in which regional Girl Scouts participated in an outreach event sponsored by Northwest Missouri State University. Five scouts participated and were able to earn another badge based on their ability to navigate our course on campus.
University of New Orleans
Zeta Lambda chapter initiated one new member this academic year and transferred the faculty sponsorship to Juana
University of Toledo
The Zeta Xi Chapter of GTU engaged in a number of outreach activities, social events, and professional development opportunities. This year we continued the "open mike" forum for the GTU meetings to encourage greater student and faculty participation in the organization. For each meeting, a student volunteered to discuss either an internship completed, travel experience, or their research interests. In addition, the Department of Geography and Planning celebrated its 50th anniversary, and hosted a number of events. For example, the East Lakes region of the Association of American Geographers was held in our department in October 2013. GTU members helped with organization, registration, and other aspects of the regional meeting. For outreach and professional developments, students engaged in "Clean Your Streams," cleaning a stretch of the Ottawa River that runs through campus and eventually to Lake Erie in Fall 2013.
In regards to social events, we had two rounds of Geopardy in association with our GTU initiation ceremonies. At the Spring 2014 initiation ceremony, we invited alumni from the department as well as GTU members from Owens Community College and their faculty sponsor, Scott Deaner. In Spring 2014, several of our chapter members attended a Toledo Mudhens baseball game.
We also created and maintained a Facebook page for the Zeta Xi Chapter:
Worcester State University
GTU had a relatively quiet year on campus. GTU sponsored a talk with other honors societies delivered by George Woodwell, one of the founding scientists of the Woodshole Oceanographic Institute as well as a keynote address given by the activist/environmentalist Sandra Steingraber.
In addition to these higher profile events GTU members met twice during the year to attend to the memorial garden on campus for a former student in our department who was a tragic victim of violence. The local GTU chapter has over seen this responsibility for nearly a decade.
Utah State University
We initiated 3 new members. We have no other activities to report. Student activities largely occur through another interdisciplinary student group; while our GTU chapter functions only to provide academic honors to qualifying students.
Inducted 1 new member in Fall 2013 and 3 new members in Spring 2014.
On 20 February 2014, our chapter sponsored a talk titled, A Bold New Vision of the Schuylkill Riverfront, by Joseph Syrnick, President and Chief Executive Officer, Schuylkill River Development Corporation. The talk focused on the redevelopment of the blighted riverfront in Philadelphia.On 20 March 2014, our chapter hosted an Alumni panel session on employment. We brought back five recent graduates who are working in Geography, GIS and Environmental jobs to explain to our current students the ups and downs of their job searches and what their jobs are like.
Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University's Eta Chi Chapter of GTU was very productive during the 2013–14 academic year. Eleven new GTU members were initiated into Eta Chi during Fall 2013, and eleven new GTU members joined in Winter 2014. Our active, enthusiastic student leaders helped our chapter reach new heights.
Activities this year that were new for the Eta Chi chapter included hosting Dr. Antoinette WinklerPrins through the Visiting Geographical Scientist Program; increasing the visibility of Eta Chi GTU through a Facebook page; organizing and hosting a career day for students in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences at NMU; staffing a booth with hands-on activities for youth at a community-wide Kaleidoscope Fair; collecting five boxes of books for universities in Ethiopia.
GTU students hosted the annual "Graduate School Interest Night" during fall semester to help students think about whether graduate school was in their futures and if so then what they could do to prepare. Three geography faculty members served on a panel for this informational session.
A GTU initiation ceremony and dinner in April convened many new and current GTU members and faculty for pleasant conversation and celebration…in spite of the raging blizzard that closed campus in the early afternoon. GTU officers have been elected for Fall 2014 to help carry the momentum forward into another exciting year.
James Madison University
During the 2012-2013 academic year the James Madison University chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon by the name of Theta Gamma, worked to further establish their organization, increase their membership base, and further promote geography awareness at JMU and beyond to the greater community. Foremost in this GTU worked with faculty and students to establish a peer mentorship program specific to the geography department. This program, through faculty support, gained an online interface within the student faculty web oracle. Creating a space where any geography student can ask questions regarding any aspects of human or physical geography and/or geospatial technologies and gain answers. This is where students currently within GTU have access to the interface and answer any geography related questions as they come in. This program has been well received by both students and staff and is expected to continue to gain momentum over the next academic year. Aside from this, Gamma Theta Upsilon has also started a membership campaign, by creating flyers and posters, updating available information, and giving short talks in rudimentary geography classes. As a result, GTU is expecting to see a jump in membership during the fall 2014 semester. This past year also lead to the further development and update of Gamma Theta's constitution, to provide a more rigorous chapter and involved member base.
GTU also participated in several service projects this past year which included helping maintain a local elementary school's community garden and a community based forest trail clean-up project. The chapter also met with Virginia Information Technologies Agency Regional Coordinator, to discuss the potential for GTU to serve as a connection point between students and internship and job opportunities with Virginia geospatial technology companies. The development of this connection is seen as highly valuable to GTU and the JMU geography department and is expected to develop further over the next year. Aside from all of the above, GTU worked this past year to create more opportunities for students and faculty to connect, to create and partake in both social and academic events specific to JMU's department of geography. GTU also worked to promote geography awareness within the university but also to the greater community.
Florida Atlantic University
We had a well-attended initiation ceremony in October.
West Virginia University
We had 9 new initiations in fall 2013, and will actively recruit again this coming fall. In conjunction with the Geography Club, our GTU chapter helped organize Geography Awareness Week in November and Geography Movie Night in April. They also made a trip to Washington DC for a "day on the hill" and to visit National Geographic.
Wayne State College
For our Geography Awareness Week activity, Lambda Zeta chapter sponsored the Third Annual Geography Bowl on campus. Eight teams of two students each competed in a single elimination format to determine a champion. Raffle drawings were held between rounds and a variety of geography-related donated items were given away. Over 100 persons were in attendance and the event was filmed to be later shown on the campus TV channel.
Our GTU chapter held two initiation ceremonies this past academic year, with two new members coming aboard in November 2013 and seven new members taking the pledge in April 2014.
Lambda Zeta sponsored a speaker during the Spring 2014 semester. Our GTU chapter brought in Mr. Dan Becker, GIS Manager for Vernadero Group in Lincoln. He gave a talk entitled, "A Career in Geospatial Technology" describing course work, internships, and networking that helped him land his current position in the industry.
Grand Rapids Community College
The Lambda Upsilon chapter at Grand Rapids Community College began the 2013/2014 academic year with news that it had been selected as one of the eight Honors chapters of GTU, which was indeed a pleasant surprise, for this was an award that was not anticipated. Over the course of the next several months, the GRCC chapter continued to do as it had in past years by making efforts to pursue academic excellence while also contributing to Geography and humanity.
As a sponsor of a symposium that commemorated the founding of the United Nations, UN 2013, Grand Rapids, the chapter hosted GTU Past-President Leon Yacher, who delivered a plenary lecture on journalism in post-Soviet Central Asia, which generated substantial interest and much conversation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9PIEFqu9ts). Dr. Yacher also was interviewed for the Conversation with a Geographer oral history series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21quxD3Dvok). Lambda Upsilon's immediate Past-President, Alyson Mabie, worked tirelessly as an intern for the United Nations Association, which also served as one of the event's sponsors, by assisting in the organization of the symposium and acting as a liaison for local colleges and universities. The conference provided the chapter with a venue for raising money to send girls to school in East Africa. The fund-raising proved to be effective; at the end of the Fall semester, $1000 was sent to the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) to support the education of three girls. The chapter also directed efforts toward the Textbooks for Ethiopia project.
In March 2014, Lambda Upsilon served as one of the sponsors of the GRCC Annual Conference on Race, Ethnicity, and Identity by hosting the Visiting Geographical Scientist, Caroline Faria of Florida International University, who spoke on the geography of the beauty trade in South Sudan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpeXawN3p1s). Her lecture captivated many, for more than 150 people attended her talk, including students and faculty as well as leaders in the academic administration and Board of Trustees. Dr. Faria also met with students at nearby Aquinas College, and she too was interviewed for the Conversation with a Geographer oral history series(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3HBYG8c98I).
Collaboration with the World Affairs Council also brought numerous students to the Great Decisions Lecture Series, which included speakers such as NPR Counterterrorism correspondent Dina Temple-Raston and Atlantic Monthly writer James Fallows. Moreover, the distinguished scientist, Richard Leakey of Kenya, delivered a lecture on the impact of climate change, with special reference to African wildlife, and the Lambda Upsilon chapter awarded him a GRCC Geography Field Cap, which is an honor reserved for those that have contributed to the advancement of Geography through fieldwork, exploration, research, teaching, publication, or exemplary service. VGSP distinguished speakers and selected alumni also are among those that have been given the award, as well as the feminist Africanist, Alicia Decker, and AAG Senior Researcher Niem Huynh.
The Lambda Upsilon chapter participated in the annual meeting of the California Geographical Society in Los Angeles, which was again made possible through the generous support of the GRCC Office of Student Life. The chapter President, Gary Farris, presented a paper on online course instruction in Geography, which was well-received and sparked a number of positive comments, as well as discussions on effective pedagogy. In addition to learning about various matters geographic by attending conference presentations, field trips throughout the counties of Los Angeles and Ventura also took place.
In essence, the 2013/2014 academic year was little different than years previous. At GRCC, a small, but dedicated, group of geographers---and those aspiring to be geographers---sought to make solid contributions to the discipline, as well as to humanity. And that they did.
University of Richmond
The Mu Delta chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon of the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Richmond continues to make steady progress. In this fourth year of existence, the Mu Delta chapter is made up of 6 members. Due to our relatively new major, small size, and high percentage of students studying abroad in their Junior year, we continue to have only one officer, a President. However, this year we established a Geography club which provides a larger framework within which we situate our honors society. This year we had an event in addition to our induction ceremony and celebration, as GTU-Mu Delta and the Geography club combined to organize a popular Geography bowl which was attended by 60 odd students. Now that the Geography club is incorporated within our University system of student organizations, we can access more funds to organize other geography related events. Andrew Valenski, our new President, will ably lead these efforts.
Mississippi State University
Members had another successful polo shirt sale. This year they added "Geographers know where it's at" T-shirts to the sale. This fundraiser has contributed about $100 to the club each year. The members have begun to take new initiates out for their initiation dinner. The fall initiation dinner was held at the faculty sponsor's house and consisted of Mediterranean foods. The spring initiation dinner was held at a Thai restaurant. The current members very much appreciate a diversity of ethnic foods and think a geography organization is a good thing to take advantage of them. Activities included a hazards related movie night and a welcome-recruitment lunch and presentation. The main issue facing the club is how to recruit members who will be active participants in activities. The current officers have been with the club almost from the beginning and will be graduating this year. It is important to find more than 1 or 2 new members who will be interested to take on leadership roles.
University of Colorado at Denver
Mu Lambda had one induction ceremony in 2013-14: April 2014. Advertising, marketing, and meet-and-greet activities were conducted at the annual Fall Fest and Spring Flings events for the Auraria campus, and the Chapter participated in the "Sustainability Fair" this past spring. The Chapter also instigated the ever-popular "Geography, Environmental Science, and GIS Career Symposium" for the Auraria Campus, drawing over 50 students who came to network and hear panelists speak about job opportunities. Panelists included representatives from USGS, ESRI, a local recycling company, Digital Globe, Forest Service, and an oil and gas consulting service.
Normandale Community College
We inducted one new member. We are proud to have sent several members off to major in Geography at 4-year programs in the last few years.
Owens Community College
In October 2013 approximately 15 Owens geography students attended the joint ELDAAG/CAGONT meeting held at the University of Toledo. This was the first professional conference experience for many of our students and I heard extremely positive feedback afterwards. The students enjoyed attending paper presentations as well as networking with students at other colleges and universities in the region.
We inducted two new members into the Mu Rho chapter on April 7, 2014. Faculty, students, and administrators were in attendance for the event and reception. As part of the reception I hosted a round of Geography-themed Jeopardy (an idea that I got from Dan Hammel and Beth Schlemper at the University of Toledo).
Zeta Xi chapter (University of Toledo) invited us to attend their induction reception on April 21, 2014. Two students and myself attended that event. Special thanks for Beth Schlemper and Zeta Xi for welcoming us and Dan Hammel who has set an extremely high standard for excellence as a "Geopardy" host.
This year we organized only one induction ceremony, in the Spring semester. Dr. Kari Jensen, the Mu Kappa Chapter President, inducted 21 new members, in a ceremony held at Hofstra's University Club followed by a luncheon on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. It was attended by both new and old members of Mu Kappa, including special guest Dr. Burrell Montz, Chair and Geography Professor at East Carolina University. Dr. Montz gave a captivating keynote speech highlighting her own career path as a Geographer as well as her involvement with the Honor Society through the years. The previous years in our young club's history, we have mostly been inducting Seniors. This year, however, several of the new inductees were Sophomores/Juniors, which means that we now have a group of continuing GTU student members, so we will try to organize some activities this coming academic year.
Texas State University
The Department of Geography at Texas State University has long realized that GTU members are the ideal student representatives of its programs and has GTU members serve as the department's representatives at its public lectures, service events, and recruiting activities. Kappa Upsilon members serve as ushers for the department's prestigious Gilbert Grosvenor Lectures and its equally prestigious James and Marilyn Lovell Lectures on Environmental Geography. Speakers at those lectures have included the President of Malawi on Sept. 19, 2013, a U.S. Senator, a former U.S. Secretary of State, former astronauts, and other well-known figures such as oceanographer Sylvia Earle. At those lectures, GTU is acknowledged in the opening remarks and the printed program.
GTU members, along with faculty, staff the department's exhibit at the university's four times-a- year open house recruiting events, called "Bobcat Days." Those events, primarily directed at high school students and their families, allow for our GTU members to provide prospective students a student's perspective on our programs and provide a positive example of the type and quality of our students. In recognition of the value of our chapter's contributions to the department's success, the department has generously supported its programs financially and through staff assistance in GTU service projects such as "Textbooks for Ethiopia." Nine new student members were inducted in the Texas State GTU Kappa Upsilon Chapter Initiation Ceremony in April.