Chapter Activity Reports
This year more than fifty Gamma Theta Upsilon chapters submitted reports highlighting a wide variety of activities that they undertook this year. I encourage you to read through the condensed versions of the annual reports to be inspired by how well GTU chapters are promoting geography. The summaries are organized in alphabetical order by chapter name.
I was heartened to learn how active GTU is…not only in the United States but also in the United Arab Emirates. One strategy that works well for chapters that are trying to become more active is to team up with another student organization on campus to co-sponsor a documentary film screening, guest lecture, field trip, career day, or geography-themed game night. Borrow some ideas from another chapter and have a great year sharing your interest in geography. (Watch out chapter sponsors for Gamma Omega’s fundraising suggestion of setting up a dunk tank!) Celebrating Geography Awareness Week on November 15–21 is great excuse for GTU to host community events related to the theme Explore! The Power of Maps. Find more ideas to prepare for Geography Awareness Week at http://education.nationalgeographic.com/programs/geographyawarenessweek/. While you are at it, keep a running list of your accomplishments so that you will be ready to submit your annual report before the June 15th deadline.
Dr. Susy S. Ziegler
Second Vice President
Gamma Theta Upsilon
Alpha Alpha, University of North Texas
During the Fall 2014 semester, we inducted five new members. We designed a website to better advertise the organization and our events. Moreover, we volunteered for the UNT Department of Geography Fall Seminar Series. Our members helped prepare and clean up for every meeting on a weekly basis. Moreover, we had weekly meetings to plan for two separate Alpha Alpha Spring 2015 events.
We inducted another eight members during our spring membership drive and held an induction ceremony that honored the new inductees and highlighted the scholarships, recognitions, and employment positions that our members received. Additionally, our chapter held two events during the Spring 2015 semester. Our members convened during January to collect data and make maps as a part of the 2015 GTU Mapathon. We partnered with the Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists and Keep Denton Beautiful to create useful and strategic maps and help our members expand their knowledge of spatial analysis, GIS, and digital cartography.
Finally, we hosted a free GIS workshop in April 2015 with the help of Peter Palacios, a UNT Geography Adjunct Instructor. The goal of the workshop was to show the participants how to efficiently navigate between ArcCatalog, Collector, and ArcMap, streamlining the data workflow and sharing the results. Collecting data, utilizing GIS, and visualizing the results are some of geography’s core elements – this workshop aimed to provide support for UNT Geography’s undergraduate and graduate student researchers.
Alpha Nu, Kent State University
Kent State University’s Alpha Nu chapter of GTU initiated seven new members in 2014–15.
Alpha Phi, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This year Alpha Phi inducted 10 new members. Geography Awareness week activities included showing a documentary, hosting the 18th annual Geography Bowl, staffing an information booth and holding a student photo contest. Other events were the Heartland Homeschool Association National Geography Bee competition, socials (i.e., annual Spring picnic), monthly meetings, and a student chili cook-off.
Alpha Xi, Valparaiso University
The Alpha Xi Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon inducted 12 new members this year during Fall and Spring ceremonies. Members of GTU collaborated with Geography Club on the second annual geography bowl.
Beta Chi, Michigan State University
At Michigan State, separate student organizations exist for both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates have a Club, while graduate students join the Graduate Geography Group (Triple G), both of which are Registered Student Organizations with the University Each of these organizations has a slate of officers. Students from both groups are members of GTU, and each conducts its own social, service, and outreach activities separate from the other. The following report of activities therefore includes students who were members of GTU at the time, students who were initiated into GTU at some later point in the academic year, and students who are not GTU members or applicants.
In the 2014-2015 Academic Year, students from MSU Geography:
-assisted the Department in Geography Awareness Week activities (film screening (A River Changes Course) and talk by Cambodian-born filmmaker and environmental activist Kalyanee Mam)
-worked to promote Geography at the University's twice per year 'Marathon of Majors' events
-painted maps on playgrounds of two elementary schools in southeast Michigan
-participated in the annual cleanup of the Red Cedar River
-participated in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources' annual 'Small Animals Day,' in which they encouraged children to color in images of animals and place them in the proper habitat on a map and photo display.
In addition, an undergraduate GTU member was chosen by the Department faculty as both 'Outstanding Senior' (based on GPA) and 'Undergraduate Geographer of the Year' (based on broader criteria), while another was awarded the Department's 'Dan Jacobsen Memorial Award in Cultural Geography.'
We only inducted four new members this year, most likely because of the combination of two main factors: Many of our majors come to the department well into their academic careers, and have not accumulated a track record in Geography courses until they are juniors (or seniors!), and we had a large induction of 12 last year. Therefore the number of eligible students was low.
Beta Psi, Kansas State University
The Beta Psi Chapter again had a busy year and added 10 new members. We sponsored 12 talks on campus including GTU ‘Brown Bag Lunches’ and visits by distinguished geographers. The group also organized the department’s annual awards banquet; including identifying the banquet speaker. GTU success in fund raising helped cut the cost of the banquet for all who attended. Helping with the state-level Geographic Bee (14 members assisted), stocking a fridge and selling canned soft drinks within the department, and selling manuals for physical geography labs were the group’s primary fund raising activities.
During Geography Awareness Week, the group had a Letter to the Editor for both the local (Manhattan Mercury) and the campus (K-State Collegian) papers, presented a themed lesson (on food – “Cheeseburger in Paradise”) at a local elementary school, developed and posted GAW geography of food posters across campus, collaborated with the school library on three GIS Day workshops, and worked with a local restaurant, Bluestem Bistro, for two GAW ‘World Food Nights’.
During the department’s Alumni Weekend, the group helped coordinate both a Chili Cook-off with at least 10 student entries and the accompanying Halloween costume competition (GTU provided prizes for both activities). Other activities included our Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, several GTU bowling nights, a field trip/dinner in Leonardville, KS, at the family restaurant of Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson, and our group meetings to share ideas and encourage participation.
Beta Xi, University of Missouri-Columbia
This past year our chapter held meetings each month of the school year. We conducted both a fall and spring initiation ceremony, inducting a total of 12 new members. Last summer several of our members assisted in promoting geography through their work with the Summers@Mizzou GeoTech Summer Camp. This camp is for youth from 12 to 16 years old and is hosted by Missouri 4-H. Our members helped in orienteering, caving, GPS and field data collection activities.
In addition, this past fall Chapter members participated in Boy Scout University, a program held on the University of Missouri campus in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America organization. One of our members led a program on geocaching for 30 Boy Scouts from across Missouri.
During the Fall welcome back to campus event, hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences, our chapter participated with the Geography Club in raising awareness of Geography as a discipline. We shared Missouri Maps and other resources to students from across the campus. Members of the chapter served on the Missouri Geographic Alliance Fall Geography & Geography Education planning committee. Members of our chapter presented, attended and assisted throughout the event focused on geography. We sold t-shirts for our chapter this fall. This spring we planned several events on and off campus.
Chi, Oklahoma State University
This year the Chi Chapter helped to sponsor Geography Awareness Week on campus. Several activities were planned in conjunction with the undergraduate Geography Club and Forum of Geography Graduate Students including a bowling night out, international beer, wine and cheese party and basketball/volleyball student/faculty/staff competitions. In May the Chi Chapter recognized the outstanding teacher and outstanding staff member in the OSU Geography Department. The chapter held its annual spring initiation ceremony at an awards reception on May 1, 2015.
Delta Lambda, University of South Alabama
This past year had GTU members attending two conferences: SEDAAG in Athens, GA, and the AAG's national conference in Chicago, IL. Eight students traveled to Athens, GA to attend the SEDAAG meeting. Of those eight, six members managed to form a group to represent Alabama when they realized that there was not any representation from Alabama. Per the rules, they had to play "one man down" because they were all from the same school. Despite the lack of practice, the students managed to tie for third place for the number of rounds won. One member was the highest undergraduate scorer of the bowl and was invited to play on the SEDAAG team at Chicago. During the trip, the students also visited Stone Mountain and the CDC Museum. Five students attended the AAG's national meeting in Chicago, with one member presenting her research on a local cemetery in Mobile, AL. Delta Lambda members also participated in Coastal Cleanup, volunteering their time to remove trash from the coastal waterways.
The Delta Lambda chapter had two induction ceremonies during the year, inducting over 12 members into the chapter.
Delta Mu, University of Mary Washington
Delta Mu inducted six new members in 2014-15. In both the fall and spring, the chapter held a used book sale to raise money for scholarships for young women an environmental education program in Guatemala. Their efforts resulted in three scholarships ($450) being awarded, one in 2015-16 and two more 2016-17.
Epsilon Beta, University of West Georgia
Fall 2014: Our fall activity was Nat Geo’s Geography Awareness Week in November; last year’s topic was “Future of Food”. The students prepared large foam boards representing each continent and velcroable foods that could be attached to their continents of origin. We presented the boards to a 3-6 year-old class at Oak Grove Montessori School in Carrollton (roughly 50 children). The students had a lot of fun guessing where their favorite foods originated. We then donated the boards to the school for the children to continue to use.
Spring 2015: We held our 2nd annual Rake the Lake Day, at Lake Carroll in Carrollton. This was held in conjunction with Earth Week in April and co-sponsored by Keep Carroll Beautiful. Roughly 30 students attended and collected garbage from the lakeside and used rakes to pull garbage from the water.
Epsilon Delta, West Liberty University
Epsilon Delta had one of its most productive years yet. Thirteen students were eligible for induction into GTU this year and eight students decided to become members. An induction ceremony and cookout was held in the Spring. Four members of Epsilon Delta accompanied faculty members to academic conferences this year and GTU co-sponsored a sneaker recycling campaign, saving over 100 pairs of sneakers from the landfill, sending some to developing regions and others to recycling centers.
Epsilon Eta, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
This year we had 4 new members join GTU. While our Geography Club was relatively inactive, new members of GTU presented at several conferences including the 2015 AAG conference in Chicago, IL.
Epsilon Psi, Colgate University
The Colgate chapter of GTU organized the following events in the academic year of 2014-15:
- Open house events to recruit students to register for Geography courses and to major/minor in Geography (one session per term).
- Field trip to Green Lakes, Oct. 3, led by Prof. Adam Burnett.
- Annual GTU keynote lecture by Dr. Jake Brenner (Environmental Studies, Ithaca College) on Oct. 22, 2014. The title of the talk was "Fire on the Mountain: Coupled-System Vulnerability at an Urban-Wildland Interface in Tucson, Arizona."
- Induction ceremony and dinner on Oct. 22, 2014 at Colgate Inn, Hamilton.
- Bake sale as part of Geography Week, Nov. 17
- Geography Trivia Night as part of Geography Week, Nov. 20
- A few happy hours at local restaurants to facilitate interaction among the members and the faculty
Eta Chi, Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University’s Eta Chi Chapter of GTU enjoyed a productive 2014–15 academic year. Nine new GTU members were initiated into Eta Chi during Fall 2014, and ten new GTU members joined in Winter 2015. Our active, enthusiastic student leaders helped our chapter carry its momentum forward.
Highlights of this year for the Eta Chi chapter included hosting a presentation by Dave and Amy Freeman, National Geographic Adventurers of the Year; planning the second annual career day for students in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Geographical Sciences at NMU; gathering a team for Relay for Life; hosting Anderton’s Earth Day to remember Dr. John Anderton and appreciate the planet; collecting six boxes of books to donate to Textbooks for Africa.
GTU 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. Four 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. Eighteen Eta Chi members graduated in May, and the remaining members are planning events for early in the fall semester to keep the group active and help recruit new members.
Eta Eta, University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming's Eta Eta chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon enjoyed a very active and productive 2014-2015 academic year. The highlight of the fall semester was Geography Awareness Week. The theme for 2014 was "The Future of Food" and our chapter organized a series of speakers focused on this topic. We began the week with a Laramie Local Food panel discussion that drew the attention of the campus and greater Laramie communities and was very well attended. A UW graduate student provided a very interesting presentation titled "The Buzz on Pollinator Diversity: How Native Bees can Support the Struggling Honey Bee" and we wrapped up the week in a festive mood with a UW Geography alum's autobiographical talk: "Portrait of a Spatially Aware Brewer." Also during Geography Awareness Week, we displayed the giant map of North America in a ballroom in the Student Union, coordinated GIS Day mini-workshops with the Wyoming Center for Geographic Information Science, and, to top it all off, hosted our own Geography Bowl competition - the pinnacle of a great week. Additional activities during the fall included a highway clean-up along US 287 south of Laramie, where our chapter is now recognized with an Adopt-a-Highway sign, and sales of Geography-themed merchandise, including t-shirts, hoodies, and the always popular beer mugs.
In the Spring, we helped to organize and conduct the Wyoming State Geography Bee for K-8 students. Held here in Laramie, the event was a great success and we are hoping to host the 2016 bee on our campus. We also held an Easter egg geo-cache for local children and hosted a series of movie nights, including the films "Geo-Fish" and "Who Owns Water?" Finally, our chapter played a key role in the Geography Department's spring awards banquet, during which we inducted a record nine new initiates to our chapter of GTU. We look forward to great, geographical things in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Eta Kappa, Salem State University
The Eta Kappa Chapter inducted into membership 19 undergraduate students and 3 graduate students at the Department’s annual Geography Day event on April 17, 2015. Over 50 people attended this ceremony. Five of the inductees were recognized for outstanding academic achievement and service to the community. The awards included the James J. Centorino Memorial Award for Superior Academic Achievement in Geography, the National Council for Geographic Education for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Geography, the Dr. John George Memorial Award for Scholarship and Service in Geography, the Dr. John George Memorial Scholarship Awarded to a Junior, and the Graduate Student Award for Excellence in the Geo-Information Sciences. Student members were encouraged to make presentations at the NESTVAL and national AAG conferences.
Eta Lambda, Villanova University
This year the chapter hosted several events within the department and on campus. During the fall semester, the Chapter hosted the welcome back meeting for all of our majors. This took place on 12 September 2014 and included the induction of students who were abroad during the previous spring semester, an information presentation on changes in the department, and an icebreaker so that new majors could meet our other students. On 3 October, the Chapter set up and ran the department table during the annual College Major’s Fair. The Chapter sponsored the department’s projects days (9 December 2014 and 28 April 2015). During these events, our seniors present their research projects during a poster session. The top projects are awarded with the Department’s Paul Crutzen Research Award during the graduation dinner. Finally, the Chapter sponsored a lecture by Dr. Julie Winkler, Past President of the AAG, on Friday, 10 April. This was widely attended by students and faculty from across the campus.
Eta Pi, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Five new members were inducted.
Eta Psi, Louisiana State University
Our chapter had its first activity in quite some time this year. We initiated six new members from the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. We held an initiation banquet on April 30, 2015. We look forward to appointing officers for the first time in 3 years during the summer break. We will hit the ground running in the Fall and look for more new members to initiate.
Eta Theta, Auburn University
Eta Theta inducted 3 new members.
Gamma Kappa, University of Arkansas
For 2014-2015 Gamma Kappa raised approximately $3000 through the selling of map booklets to student in several introductory Geography courses. This accounted for our entire operating funds for the year and enabled us to provide one $200 research scholarship and one $200 travel scholarship. The research scholarship provided funds for one of our members to access critical data for the completion of his thesis. The travel scholarship was provided to one of our members to attend the annual meetings of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago, Illinois.
The chapter was able to host two events over the course of the academic year. In an effort to recruit more students into the Geography program at the University of Arkansas, Gamma Kappa partnered with the Geosciences Honor Society (SGE) to have a BBQ in a local park near campus. This event had a high turnout with both students and faculty coming together to promote departmental interaction and collaboration. Gamma Kappa, along with the University of Arkansas’ Middle Eastern Studies Department, arranged for a campus-wide invitation to view Dr. Thomas Paradise’s research in Petra, Jordan, which was recently featured by PBS-NOVA. This event helped to promote the multi-faceted nature of geographic research.
Gamma Omega, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
2014-15 was marked by a resurgence in our chapter’s profile at IUP under the leadership of a new president. The year started with a splash in September with a professor dunk tank to raise funds for the group’s activities. Several of the Geography and Regional Planning professors allowed themselves to be submerged for a worthy cause, although they generally prefer to support GTU by purchasing a hot dog at the chapter’s Wiener Wednesday table in Leonard Hall. Money raised during the year helped to cover costs of members attending and presenting at the annual Pennsylvania Geographical Society meeting in State College and the AAG meeting in Chicago. Other trip destinations included the Phipps Conservatory/Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh and the Banf Film Festival in State College in November and April, respectively. A GTU-sponsored wine and cheese tasting event in February at a local distillery was a resounding success. Members of the IUP community were treated to a table-by-table tour of major wine regions of the world by Dr. Robert Sechrist, co-owner of the establishment and resident geography of wine instructor. Seven new members were recognized at our annual banquet on May 1st, not quite replacing the 8 departing members who successfully completed their degrees. The format of the banquet differed this year with a memorial ceremony for Dr. Ruth Shirey, a founding member and long-time advisor of our chapter who retired from the department in 2007. Her contributions to geography education, in particular, were highlighted by the many guest speakers who came to share their fond memories of Ruth’s life and work. Our year ended with the presentation of the chapter GTU Award for Excellence in Geography to our graduating president, who was also honored with the Graduate IUP Women’s Leadership Award. We wish all our graduates well and look forward to a lively 2015-2016 as the Geography and Regional Planning department moves to a brand new building!
Gamma Psi, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
The Gamma Psi Chapter was very pleased to co-sponsor a visit by Past President of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Julie Winkler, who is a professor of Geography at Michigan State University. Dr. Winkler spoke to students and faculty on Thursday, April 9, 2015 as part of Kutztown University's ongoing series of Women in STEM talks. Dr. Winkler's talk, "Academic Careers in the Geosciences: One Woman's Perspective," detailed her personal journey to become a leading figure in climatology and climate change research. Dr. Winkler's visit also included a presentation at Villanova University and at the Annual Spring Meeting of the Delaware Valley Geographical Association (DVGA) on Friday, April 10. Dr. Winkler's talk at the DVGA was titled, "The Impact of Climate Change on International Market Decisions." The visit and presentations were funded by an AAG Visiting Scientist grant.
Our annual GTU initiation ceremony was held on the morning of Thursday, April 30, 2015. The morning began with the presentation of several departmental awards for outstanding students in the BA Geography and BS Environmental Science-Geography programs. The official initiation ceremony commenced with the presentation of GTU certificates to last year's initiates. The ceremony ended with five new members being inducted into the Gamma Psi Chapter.
Kappa Upsilon, Texas State University
Kappa Upsilon GTU members have made valued contributions to the Department of Geography at Texas State University through their outstanding service to the department and their service and representation of the department in the university and in the community at large. GTU members serve as the department’s representatives at colloquia, special events, and campus-wide recruiting activities. In 2014-2015, Kappa Upsilon members served 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 included the Texas State Hero Mr. Jesse Luxton on April 2, 2015, and Association of American Geographers President Dr. Mona Domosh on February 20, 2015. At those lectures, the GTU chapter is acknowledged for their support in the opening remarks and the printed program. We also were approved for the Visiting Geographical Scientist and coordinated the visit of GTU President Dr. Burrell Montz for the Texas State Graduate Student Research Symposium held in ELA 116 on April 10, 2015.
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 Bobcats a student’s perspective on our Geography programs, certificates, and job placement opportunities. In recognition of the value of our chapter’s contributions to the department’s efforts to enhance student academic success, the department has generously supported our programs financially and through staff assistance in GTU service projects such as “Textbooks for Africa.” Continuing the tradition of recognizing and fostering student excellence, our GTU chapter inducted twenty-three additional new student members at the Kappa Upsilon Chapter Initiation Ceremony held on December 12, 2014 and May 3, 2015.
Kappa Zeta, University of Northern Colorado
This spring we added 6 new members at the GTU initiation dinner. The dinner was attend by 4 past GTU initiates and 5 current Geography Faculty.
Lambda, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
GTU is closely linked to Geography Club. The activities of these groups include: participation in a city Clean-Up for Earth Day, several hiking trips, a camping trip, and information booth during Geography Awareness Week to promote geography. Many GTU students are active in the SIU student organic garden (LOGIC) and trail maintenance in our near-by Shawnee National Forest.
Lambda Psi, Ohio Northern University
Nothing to report.
Lambda Rho, Youngstown State University
The Lambda Rho Chapter of the Honors Society of Gamma Theta Upsilon held weekly meetings throughout the year in conjunction with the Youngstown State University Geography Club. The Lambda Rho Chapter sponsored or co-sponsored several events during the year, starting with a Frozen Yogurt booth that was put in place as part of campus welcome week activities. We co-sponsored visits by two professional speakers. We also co-sponsored and helped coordinate and publicize the Department of Geography’s annual Professional Geography Night. The latter event consists of YSU Geography alumni returning to campus to talk about their professional lives and how their undergraduate training in geography relates to their positions.
We inducted 6 new members at our annual Departmental Awards Dinner on March 30, 2015. Lambda Rho members attend both the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Chicago and the Annual Meeting of the East Lakes Division of the Association of American Geographers at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Three of our members presented papers at the East Lakes Meeting, and one member was awarded the meeting’s Undergraduate Paper Award. Members also attended the Severe Weather Symposium held at Ohio State University in March.
In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, the Lambda Rho chapter sponsored a number of excursions intended to facilitate group participation and interaction. These excursions included a camping trip to a Hocking Hills State Park, two events that centered on sampling beer and wines from different areas of the world, and spring and fall picnics. We also co-sponsored a Survival Skills Program with the YSU Chapter of the Honors Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
This has certainly been one of our most active and productive years in recent memory. We have an active and committed core of officers and members and we expect to take advantage of the impetus created by the current officers to extend and increase activities during the 2015/2016 academic year.
Lambda Upsilon, Grand Rapids Community College
The Lambda Upsilon chapter at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) began the 2014/2015 academic year with plans to participate in the East Lakes and West Lakes Divisions of the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Kalamazoo. The recipient of the Lambda Upsilon Academic Service Award participated in the conference and staffed a table representing the GRCC Geography program; a Past-President and alumna took first place in the undergraduate student paper competition with her paper, Claiming Turf: The Spatial Distribution of Three Discrete Types of Graffiti/Street Art in Southeast Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The GRCC chapter continued to do as it had in past years by raising funds for the education of girls in Africa through the sales of African wildlife calendars. The chapter also contributed to the development of the GRCC Geography program’s new web site (http://www.grcc.edu/socialsciences/geography/gtu). In 2015, a student who had received the Elizabeth Knapp Scholarship presented by the GRCC Social Sciences Department was inducted as the chapter’s 29th member since its founding in 2007.
In March 2015, Lambda Upsilon served as one of the sponsors of the GRCC Annual Conference on Race, Ethnicity, and Identity by hosting the Visiting Geographical Scientist, Marie Price, who spoke on Diffusion, Deflection and Diversity: A Geographic Perspective on Contemporary Migration.
Collaboration with the World Affairs Council also brought numerous students to the Great Decisions Lecture Series, which included speakers such as NPR Technology correspondent Aarti Shahani and Lambda Upsilon Past-President Amanda Colegrove, a Coalition Organizer for the Coalition Against Trafficking & Exploitation in Missouri. Ms. Colegrove was interviewed for the Conversation with a Geographer oral history series as well.
At the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting in Chicago, five alumni (four of them Lambda Upsilon Past-Presidents) made presentations. There, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the college.
The Lambda Upsilon chapter awarded both Jerome Dobson (President, American Geographical Society) and Lee Schwartz (The Geographer, U.S. Department of State) the GRCC Geography Field Cap, an honor reserved for those that have contributed to the advancement of Geography through fieldwork, exploration, research, teaching, publication, or exemplary service. Visiting Geographical Scientists and selected alumni are among those that have been given the award, as well as Richard Leakey, Nicholas Kristof, and Niem Huynh.
In May, the Lambda Upsilon chapter participated in the Annual Meeting of the California Geographical Society in Arcata, which was again made possible through the generous support of the GRCC Office of Student Life. The chapter President presented a paper on Global Climate Change Perceptions, the Media, and Higher Education, which was very well-received. In addition to learning about various matters geographic by attending conference presentations, field trips devoted to exploring cultural and natural landscapes behind the Redwood Curtain took place.
In essence, the 2014/2015 academic year was little different than years previous. At GRCC, a small, but dedicated, group of aspiring geographers made substantial contributions to the geographic discipline, and their impact was recognized from the Midwest to the West Coast.
Lambda Zeta, Wayne State College
For our Geography Awareness Week activity, Lambda Zeta chapter sponsored the Fourth Annual Geography Bowl on campus. Eight teams of two students each competed in a geography quiz competition - single elimination format - to determine a champion. Raffle drawings were held between rounds and a variety of geography-related donated items were given away to audience members. Over 120 persons were in attendance and the event was well-received by campus media.
Lambda Zeta sponsored presentations by two former Geography majors during the Spring 2015 semester. Our GTU chapter brought in Mr. Jamie Peterson, GIS Supervisor of Pottawattamie County in Iowa and Ms. Bailey Gibson, GIS technician for Hall County in Nebraska. Their presentation was entitled, “The Fascinating World of GeoSpatial Technology: Education and Employment” and described course work, internships, and networking that helped them both land their current positions in the industry.
Mu Chi, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
The Mu Chi Chapter at University of South Florida St. Petersburg had a great first year!
The chapter’s inauguration was marked by a formal ceremony on November 19, 2014, attended by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
The chapter inducted 5 faculty members and 6 student members. The same week GTU members participated in the GIS Open House that welcomed over 200 middle and high school students.
In the spring semester, our GTU vice-president received a travel grant from the national GTU organization to help attend the Association of American Geographers conference in Chicago, his poster was entitled: Forest Community Integration and Collective Agency in Korup National Park, Cameroon: Interactions with Forest Policies and the REDD+ Mechanism. American Association of Geographers. Chicago, IL. April 21 – 25. GTU also participated in St. Petersburg’s Earth Day festival on April 18, 2015.
This June GTU will continue its undergraduate recruitment efforts through participation in orientations and resource fairs for incoming students. Our next induction is planned for November 2015, to coincide again with the GIS Open House.
Mu Delta, University of Richmond
The Mu Delta chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon of the Department of Geography and the Environment at the University of Richmond surged in this fifth year of existence, inducting 16 new members to add to our existing three, for a total of 19 members in 2014-2015. In addition, we continued to build on our Geography club, established last year, which provides a larger framework within which we situate our honors society. This year the students of GTU and the Geography club organized a Geography bowl in both semesters, as well as helped organize and present during GIS Day 2014. 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. Mu Delta also created a website http://www.urgeography.org/. Our President, a Buzzard scholarship recipient, ably led these efforts. Finally, one of our members is the lead author on a paper accepted by the Journal of Latin American Geography. This should be out in the fall.
Mu Eta, Mississippi State University
I am sorry to report that we had very little activity in the 14-15 school year. We had a fall initiation of three new members, but most of the officers were working off campus this past year and the new president did not have time to organize much. We did not conduct an initiation in the spring. The one fundraising activity that the club saw since the last report was a barbeque dinner over the summer. We did have people ask about buying one of the polo shirts we have sold in the past, so this is definitely something that should be pursued in the next year. The organization just does not have a large enough group of people who participate to carry on activities from year to year. We will try to recruit better this year.
Mu Kappa, Hofstra University
Dr. Veronica A. Lippencott, the Mu Kappa Acting President, and Dr. Grant Saff, the Mu Kappa Vice President, inducted 11 new members, in a ceremony held at Hofstra’s University Club along with a luncheon on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. It was attended by both new and old members of Mu Kappa, along with Global Studies and Geography faculty. Special guest Valerie J. Rizzuto, Assistant Instructor of Global Studies and Geography, gave a keynote speech highlighting her lifelong love of geography, her academic career, and the importance of geography as a discipline. Congratulations to the new members!
Mu Lambda, University of Colorado Denver
This Year’s Activities Included:
- Fifth annual career symposium, which brings in career professional from different fields to highlight what geography graduates do and allows for networking opportunities
- Helping sponsoring the state of Colorado Geography Bee
- Co-hosting CU Denver GIS Symposium
- Co-Sponsoring several students for the regional AAG meeting.
Mu Psi, United Arab Emirates University
In 2015 UAEU received a charter to form the Mu Psi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon to honor geographers; 18 students were inducted. One Mu Psi student won the second Award of the AUE Undergraduate Research Competition across UAE universities, organized by Abu Dhabi University, 2014. One Mu Psi student won the first Award of the AUE Undergraduate Research Competition across all universities in UAE with his research project on ‘Suitability map and location for Sharjah Metro network’, organized by Abu Dhabi University, 2015. We hosted a guest speaker Prof. Dietrich Soyez (First Vice President of International Geographical Union/IGU) on May 10, 2015 at UAEU to deliver speech on IGU membership to geography students and faculty.
Furthermore, the department organized the students to attend local conferences /forums /summits/ workshops/ lectures and events in and out of campus. Our students have been actively engaged and encouraged by the department to participate in scientific gatherings and publish their research findings in conferences and workshops as part of their educational and learning experience.
The department emphasizes academic trips for the students with government and semi-government departments and institutions. The trips are thought to introduce the students to the working life in their respective field and for the students to build connections and contacts with these departments. The department was also invited to attend and support some events organized by the government departments in the field of GIS and sustainability.
Mu Rho, Owens Community College
John Dau, former Lost Boy of Sudan, visited Owens Community College in February 2015 for two presentations. Mu Rho chapter members along with other students volunteered to welcome visitors to the presentation and assist with selling autographed copies of Mr. Dau's book, God Grew Tired of Us. In April, the Mu Rho chapter was invited to attend Zeta Xi's induction ceremony hosted my Professor Beth Schlemper and play a game of Geography Jeopardy hosted by Professor Dan Hammel. Mu Rho held its own induction ceremony and luncheon in conjunction with the Owens CC chapter of Psi Beta on April 23, 2015 where two new members were inducted. The students ate a fantastic meal of Southern Appalachian cuisine prepared by the Owens CC culinary arts program. The college President, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Academic Vice Provost, Dean of Liberal Arts, and Social & Behavioral Sciences faculty members were in attendance.
Mu Sigma, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
We spent the academic year working on promoting GTU throughout the curriculum and at departmental events. We made plans to incorporate geographic ideas into the university's new general education program. Two GTU members presented at the annual AAG conference in Chicago. We also inducted 2 new members.
Mu Theta, Park University
In our fifth annual initiation ceremony in April 2015, the Mu Theta chapter inducted its largest class yet—bringing in 17 new members to GTU. This was also an historic initiation for our chapter as five of the new members we inducted were from our new partner institution, Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. We were honored to have the GTU Historian, Dr. Dawn Drake, who is a faculty member at MWSU, assist with our initiation ceremonies held at Park University on April 15 and at MWSU on April 18.
Mu Upsilon, Kennesaw State University
During the 2014-2015 academic year, Mu Upsilon held two meetings—one in the fall, the other in spring. Moreover, at each of those general meetings, the chapters Constitution was not changed and new members were duly initiated along with positions of officers filled due to vacancies due to students graduating from the prior academic year. First, in the fall semester, three students were initiated into Mu Upsilon with one becoming our current Vice President, , and one fulfilling two roles as our secretary/Historian. During the spring term, two new students were initiated. In respect to activities and/or promoting Geographical awareness, Mu Upsilon participated in the "Textbooks for Africa" campaign. Our chapter’s Vice President volunteered to create various fliers for said campaign, which were posted and distributed throughout campus. Furthermore, approximately 60-70 textbooks were collected and sent for the campaign. Our chapter is looking forward to the future and with new interest in our student body towards geographical understanding and GIs related classes. Furthermore, I believe Mu Upsilon will have more opportunities to increase our chapter’s presence by promoting events such as: Kennesaw State’s "Year of series" where various departments on campus hold classes and lectures promoting and educating ours students’ about places’ history, culture, and current topics of particular geographic place ; a geocaching events; and our annual GIS night at a local brewery, and through the creation of a non-honors Geography club which myself, our vice President, and our current faculty advisor.
Nu, Emory and Henry College
The Nu Chapter inducted four new members. They collected 250 pounds of textbooks for the "Textbooks for Africa" project, and delivered to Atlanta warehouse
Omicron, Shippensburg University
- Tutoring for Geography/Earth Science Department
- Volunteered at the Geography-Earth Science career fair (October)
- Volunteered at the Shippensburg Community Children’s Fair (April)
- Participated in Earth Day on Campus
- Went on to hikes/field trips
- Held the GTU Banquet
- Inducted 11 new members to the Omicron Chapter
Theta, Arizona State University
We finally registered as a student organization at ASU and got quite a bit of funding. With this funding, we restarted the Department Brown Bag series, only with free lunch. We had brown bag presentations by grad students and faculty on:
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Climbing Denali without a Guide
- Grafitti in the Ghetto
- Chicago AAG Primer
We organized a joint end of year picnic with our sister organization – the Alpha chapter of Upsilon Rho Beta (URB), the new urban planning honor society. We can take a teeny bit of credit for this because the Planning students saw the success of GTU at ASU and wondered why they did not have a similar organization for Planning. Upon discovering there was no national organization, they started one, and we helped them out a little by supporting them and answering questions. This was actually a couple of years ago but I don’t think we ever reported it.
We had 3 field trips—two hikes and a school “Day in the Pines.” We had two meetings, and some of our members helped out at the Night of the Open Door and the State Geography Bee.
Theta Iota, Ohio University
On April 15, we inducted three new members. This year we raised almost $200 through a topographic map sale to support a member in his journey to participate in the Geography Bowl for the East Lakes Division at the national AAG conference in Chicago. Our members raised $100 and participated in Ohio University's annual Bare on the Bricks event, which is a one-mile run that raises money and collects clothing donations to help combat homelessness in Athens County. We also volunteered at Athens Beautification Day, which is a city-wide trash clean up and beautification event. We sponsored a talk about GIS jobs that was given by Drew Zellers, an employee of Here.com (formerly NavTech). We sponsored a screening of the new documentary Return of the River, which showcased the story of the largest dam removal in U.S. history, on the Elwha River in Washington. In the fall, our members gave advice and information about geography to incoming and undecided students at Ohio University's annual Majors Fair.
Theta Tau, The University of Montana
Unfortunately, Professor Gritzner was involved chiefly in the development of The Earth Restoration Project during the 2014-2015 academic year, and Co-Sponsor Kevin McManigal is in Nepal. With support from the Panthera organization, he is leading a team of advanced students to generate GIS-based maps of tiger habitats for use by rangers patrolling the Parsa Wildlife Refuge. As in the past, Theta Tau members took the lead in coordinating Geography Awareness activities on campus and in the community; members sponsored public screenings of geographically relevant films; members scheduled weekend outings to sites of interest, informal evening gatherings, and recreational outings. Theta Tau’s efforts to strengthen student performance was relatively successful. A Theta Tau member received the AAG’s Saarinen Award for his paper, “Remaking Nature in Montana: Topophilic Considerations of Wolves and Trapping; another member received an American Geographical Society fellowship for her analysis of the alternative agricultural sector in Finland; three members presented papers at our university’s Annual Graduate Student Research Conference; a Theta Tau member received several awards and grants for his work on Mongolian glaciers, and he has also received a travel grant from the American Center for Mongolian Studies and received the award for the best graduate-student presentation at the 2014 Symposium of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, as well as a fellowship from the MSGC to begin his doctoral studies in Systems Ecology this autumn; and another member received a $30,000 Truman Scholarship, and was named a Newman Civic Fellow—chiefly for her work in climate change and with the UM Forum for Living with Appropriate Technology.
While we lack the specific information necessary to apply for chapter awards, it might be noted that we inducted eleven new members—more than double the number of new members inducted last year. Our department offers undergraduate and M.A./M.S. programs. Geography students at the doctoral level are typically enrolled in The Graduate School’s interdisciplinary doctoral program, or specialized programs in the College of Forestry and Conservation or the Division of Biological Sciences—both closely allied with the Department of Geography (both academically and through the certificate program in GIS). Some of our efforts to promote geography are noted above. Theta Tau also works collaboratively with the Montana Geographic Alliance and the department’s Geography Club in the promotion of geography and the implementation of their initiatives.
Zeta Gamma, Jacksonville State University
This year we inducted 9 new members into GTU. In addition, we assisted Cheaha State Park (Delta, Alabama) with the construction of a Leave-No-Trace Trail, ran a campus-wide recycling drive, and many of our members contributed to the Jacksonville River Monitors (a water quality monitoring group started by our Geography Club).
Zeta Iota, Rutgers University
Zeta Iota welcomed six new initiates. In April, several of our undergraduate students and members of (R.U.G.S.) Rutgers Undergraduate Geographic Society, the student-run organization formed to promote geographic awareness among undergraduates at Rutgers University, attended the (AAG) American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Chicago. Several of those students presented posters showcasing their work. The students’ travel expenses were partially funded through the support of the MaGrann Geography Field Research Fund, which promotes student research in the Department of Geography.
Zeta Pi, Utah State University
We initiated two new members in April 2015. We also had two members graduate with GTU honors in May 2015.
Zeta Theta, Northwest Missouri State University
During the spring semester, we partnered with Missouri Western State University to invite Dr. David R. Butler to our campus through the Visiting Geographical Scientist program. During his visit to our campus, Dr. Butler gave a distinguished lecture, held a question and answer session with our Conservation of Natural Resources class, attended a lunch with our GTU officers and members, and met with faculty in both Geography and Geology. This opportunity was a real honor, and we are thankful to GTU and the AAG for their continued support of this program. In the fall term, Zeta Theta Chapter also hosted a Geography Bowl that included sixteen teams of two players, and we collected 24 pounds of food that we delivered to the local food pantry. In the spring term, our service project was to assist local Girl Scouts in a Geocaching exercise. For social events, our chapter hosted two Geoguesser activities where our members and friends would attempt to define locations randomly selected using Google Earth. We hope to build on this positive momentum in the coming years.
Zeta Xi, University of Toledo
In Fall 2014 GTU, Zeta Xi was active in outreach and service. At the beginning of the academic year the group had a “welcome back” meeting to introduce new members and brainstorm potential activities. Social activities included tailgating at UT football games and participating in intramural volleyball as a GTU team for the first time in Zeta Xi’s history. Every fall we volunteer in the effort to clean up the Ottawa River that flows through campus and the community in “Clean Your Streams.” In addition, we celebrated Geography Awareness Week and GIS Day in November by setting up a table in the Student Union on campus. Besides two computers (one with a slide show of students’ map projects and another for visitors to interact with geography games), we had prizes, candy, and maps of the area. A picture taken at this event reached 295 people on Facebook and ended up on BuzzFeed with a set of GIS Day photos in “39 Geogeeks Who Ruled Instagram on #GISDay” (See #22 at http://www.buzzfeed.com/esri/39-geogeeks-who-ruled-instagram-on-gisday-gchv). Throughout the semester, GTU meetings integrated talks from alumni as well as opportunities for students to practice conference presentations. We finished the semester with GTU initiation and a popular game of Geopardy hosted by Dan Hammel.
In Spring 2015 the chapter meetings also included alumni presentations, student discussion of internships, job talk practice for one of our PhD students, and conference presentation preparation. Our students participated in the Association of American Geographer’s annual meeting, the Ohio Geographic Information Systems Conference, the American Planning Association NWO chapter workshop, and OH-MI GIS user group professional meetings. In addition, GTU, Zeta Xi sponsored a reception for one of our departmental colloquium speakers, Rachel Franklin, Brown University. Our spring GTU initiation included a student-initiated invitation to neighboring GTU chapters in Ohio and Michigan. As a result, we had representatives from the BGSU and Owens Community College chapters attend the post-initiation Geopardy competition.
Zeta Zeta, Texas A&M University
Zeta Zeta inducted 10 new members this year.