Chapter Activity Reports
This year more than sixty Gamma Theta Upsilon chapters submitted reports highlighting their myriad activities. Browse the condensed versions of the annual reports and be amazed by the creative ways in which GTU chapters are promoting geography. The summaries are organized in alphabetical order by chapter name.
Thank you chapter sponsors and GTU members for reaching out to other students on campus with tutoring help, touching the lives of youngsters with geocaching adventures, launching recycling programs, hosting documentaries and discussions, networking with alumni, and spreading geographical knowledge at regional and national conferences. Several chapters have blossomed by partnering with other student organizations to co-sponsor events. Adopt an idea or two from the great selection in these chapter reports.
Remember that celebrating Geography Awareness Week on November 13–19 is great excuse for GTU chapters to host community events related to this year’s theme Explore the Power of Parks. Find more ideas to prepare for Geography Awareness Week at http://education.nationalgeographic.com/programs/geographyawarenessweek/. Be sure to keep track of your chapter’s accomplishments so that you will be ready to submit your next annual report before the June 15th deadline. The incoming Second Vice President gathering the reports in 2017 will be inspired—as I have been the past two years—by the enthusiasm and creativity with which you have promoted geography.
Dr. Susy S. Ziegler
Second Vice President
Gamma Theta Upsilon
Alpha Alpha, University of North Texas
- Inducted 7 new members this academic year.
- Hosted a tree identification workshop with GTU members, local residents, and community foresters. This workshop was the first phase of a larger project that seeks to identify and map all the trees that were given away by the Keep Denton Beautiful Non-Profit Organization through their NeighborWoods program.
- Many GTU members and officers presented research at both the annual AAG and SWAAG conferences with our president winning first place in the student paper competition at SWAAG 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.
Alpha Nu, Kent State University
This year, we inducted 15 new members.
Alpha Omicron, Northwestern University
Alpha Omicron chapter held its annual initiation dinner and meeting at Lou Malnati’s of Evanston on May 18, 2016. Two GTU members will serve as representatives to the Weinberg College Dean’s Advisory Board in 201617. Another Alpha Omicron received an Illinois Geographical Society Outstanding Senior award at the IGS meeting held in Wilmette on April 29.
Alpha Phi, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This year, activities included monthly meetings, a coffee with alumnus (and former Buzzard Scholarship recipient) who is a USDA/NRCS GIS Specialist, a Geography Awareness Week information booth in the Union, a come-and-go "meet and greet" informational lunch at the Union, and co-hosting the school's first mapathon (Peace Corps intern Geography major). Alpha Phi inducted 12 new members in April.
Alpha Sigma, Clark University
- Fall Kick-Off Event (Fall 2015): Gained departmental attention of new students around campus, provided new networking opportunities within geography, informed students of requirements, courses, and opportunities in the geography program at Clark.
- Practicing Geography Week (5 events and a field trip) (Spring 2016)
- Spring Kick-Off Event: Gained departmental attention of new students around campus, provided new networking opportunities within geography, informed students of requirements, courses, and opportunities in the geography program at Clark.
- CUGA Geography Trivia Night: Students competed by answering geography-related trivia questions.
- Departmental Award Ceremony & GTU Induction: Promoted academic achievements of geography students, demonstrated opportunities available within the department and field.
- Practicing Geography Talk from alumni: Provided perspectives of geography alumni on career-searching, networking within the field, and benefits of being a geographer.
- Student Research Symposium: Students in our undergraduate and graduate programs came together to do brief presentations on what their research within geography is about. Provided students of all levels with a new perspective of geography, and explained what research is like in various areas of geography.
- Weekend-long urban geography field trip to New York City: Provided students with a real-life urban geography experience, networking opportunities, and a chance to explore their interest of urban geography in an applicable manner and on a larger scale.
Alpha Xi, Valparaiso University
The Alpha Xi Chapter at Valparaiso University held both a fall and a spring induction.
Beta Chi, Michigan State University
The 2015-2016 Academic year saw new ground broken by the Beta Chi chapter at Michigan State (Note: our GTU membership is 'rolled into' the undergraduate Geography Club and the Graduate Geography Group, 'Triple G'...GTU members are part of both organizations, but not all participants in these organizations are GTU members). During Geography Awareness Week, the Triple G President spearheaded a successful effort to have Michigan State University recognized as the "official site for Geography Awareness Week activities for the State of Michigan" by a proclamation by the governor (http://socialscience.msu.edu/about-us/news/governor-proclaims-msu-as-site-for-geography-awareness-week/). Members of GTU in the Club and Triple G also jointly planned and executed activities to raise the profile of Geography on campus that week, including a grad student poster session and a 'Geo-pardy' game in the Union. Additionally, Club and Triple G members helped the Department promote its annual GAW event, which this year was a talk by Canadian astronaut and physiologist Dr. Roberta Bondar that attracted nearly 600 people (http://socialscience.msu.edu/about-us/news/?p=1069).
GTU members were instrumental in starting an MSU chapter of 'Supporting Women in Geography' (SWIG), and in establishing a 'Geo-mentoring' program at a local elementary school, where they had previously painted a map on a portion of the playground. They also helped the Department in various events on campus through the year, such as the Fall and Spring 'Marathon of Majors,' in which students who are undecided on a major get information about different possibilities, and the Department's annual Career Day and Job/Internship Fair. Two GTU members represented the Department on the College of Social Sciences' 'Dean's Student Advisory Council,' and in April the Triple G President and GTU member was named 'Graduate Student Leader of the Year' at the annual University Student Life Awards Reception.
All in all, this was a year of breaking new ground and expanding limits for the members of our chapter, and we hope to continue with this growth.
Beta Psi, Kansas State University
- In summer 2015, the group did an OpenStreetMap event to map Nepal after the earthquakes
- A member visited the gifted class at Anthony Middle School 4 times to help with map reading
- A member visited 4 Kansas third-grade classroom to do a mental mapping activity
- Our chapter helped get a new chapter going at Fort Hays State University
- Adopt-a-Highway clean up on 16 Sept 2015
- Group campout on 19 Sept 2015
- GTU co-hosted numerous presentations that were given to K-State geographers – Sep: Lucka Lorber (Univ of Maribor), Deborah Hann (K-State), Oct: Bob McMaster (Minnesota), Jason Sweet (Stantec), Nov: Lee Schwartz (US State Department), Erick Ananga (S. Florida), Dec: Hoehun Ha (Central Michigan), Feb: Amy Myrbo (Minnesota), Mark Bowen (Wisc-Oshkosh), Mar: Maria Caffrey (Colorado), Mona Domosh (Dartmouth), Arnaud Temme (Wageningen), Audrey Joslin (Texas A&M), Apr: Sean Sloan (James Cook), Yolanda Youngs, (Idaho St.)
- The visit to K-State and Fort Hays State by Bob McMaster in October took advantage of the AAG/GTU Visiting Geographical Scientist Program
- GTU held 3 lunch-time brown bags talks: ‘Surviving the North Platte River”, “My Life in France: from North to South”, and “Explore the Power of Maps”
- GTU arranged for the production and distribution of physical geography lab manuals for the fall semester
- GTU provided travel awards for 9 students to attend the GPRM AAG meeting in Kearney, Nebraska
- GTU members did a suite of activities for Geography Awareness Week including map posters in bathroom stalls, a special exhibit on maps from the K-State archive, and a map exhibit at the State Historical Society
- GTU helped host the departmental Holiday Party (Dec) and the annual department Awards Banquet (April)
- GTU members volunteered with set-up and take-down for the Cure for Cabin Fever event held by the Friends of the Konza Prairie
- February 26 was GTU Movie Night
- March 7 was GTU Bowling Night
- GTU provided travel awards for 5 members to assist with AAG San Francisco travel costs
- Eight new members were inducted into GTU during the annual department banquet in April
- 10 GTU members assisted with the Kansas Geography Bee on April 1st in Abilene, Kansas
Chi, Oklahoma State University
The Chi Chapter at Oklahoma State initiated eight new members in 2016. Activities included an international beer, wine and cheese party and efforts to recognize outstanding staff in the OSU Department of Geography. GTU members also participated in a display on the OSU library lawn to showcase geospatial information science coursework and faculty/student research.
Delta Lambda, University of South Alabama
The Delta Lambda chapter of GTU held two induction ceremonies this past year, inducting over ten new members into the chapter. In August 2015, club members, along with Geography Club members, designed and sold a navy blue t-shirt promoting geography to students, with an upside down world map on the shirt, challenging everyone to “Turn your world upside down” by studying geography. In September, members completed a service event by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup. Club members traveled to San Antonio, Texas, in November, to participate in the joint meeting of the Applied Geography Conference-SWAAG Meeting. Members also participated in the AAG Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.
Delta Mu, University of Mary Washington
Co-hosted the annual Department Symposium in April 2016. Inducted six new members.
Delta Tau, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
We initiated 10 new members this spring. We continued our 4th Annual Student Research Week Breakfast honoring our students in the Department that presented at UWEC's CERCA celebration. Nearly 30 students and faculty joined us for the breakfast. Another connected presentation with GTU was in the Fall of 2015 sponsored by the Student Support Group for Geography and Anthropology (SAGGA). All but one of the members of SAGGA was a GTU member. This presentation is done to introduce prospective majors to the Department and discuss what geography is and can offer at UWEC. GTU is also connected to the Geography and Anthropology Club. A number of activities were done throughout the year together such as a Geography Bee, GIS Day, and an Adopt a Highway Cleanup Day in fall and spring. Finally, due to a generous gift to our Department Foundation, the Geography and Anthropology Department has agreed to pay all dues for new members of GTU. We feel this is a small award to honor our students that are excelling in the classroom.
Delta Theta, Chicago State University
- Sponsored spring and fall social gatherings with student and faculty that discussed their trips to the ESRI User Conference (fall), with dinner (fall) and lunch (spring).
- Planned and took AAG trip for nine students.
Delta Zeta, South Dakota State University
The Delta Zeta Chapter/Geography Club was involved with another active academic year, consisting of fund raising events, extracurricular happenings, and production of the 47th Annual South Dakota State Geography Convention, the latter of which occurred on 17-18 March 2016. The State Geography Convention has the distinction of being the longest running, student led such event in the U.S. This year's meeting included presentations by six distinguished geographers from departments in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Google's home campus. Both graduate and undergrad students from several universities presented 24 posters and nine grad and undergrad read their research papers. The annual Dept. awards banquet keynote speaker on 18 March was Dr. Bill Wyckoff, Montana State U., who gave an engrossing presentation, based on his 2014 book How to Read the American West: A Field Guide. Following the convention in April a slate of new GTU/Club officers was elected to serve during the 2016-17 academic year. During the calendar year of 2015 seven initiates were welcomed into Delta Zeta Chapter. Planning is going forward in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the chartering of GTU's Delta Zeta Chapter in 2020.
Epsilon, Missouri State University
GTU teamed up with Geography Club in 2015-2016 to do the following:
- Host a Halloween Pizza Party at the faculty sponsor's house for old and new members. We watched the original Hound of the Baskervilles with Basil Rathbone and made note of all the geographic mistakes.
- Sponsor a table at the spring Student Organization gala that received a lot of interest, and about a dozen or more students signed the email list for GTU/Geography Club announcements. The executive board gathered prizes to be raffled off at the end of the event, and every student providing his or her email address for the mailing list had a chance to win something. Most of the prizes were atlases, inflatable globes, and unique notebook/scratch pads made from maps being discarded by the campus Map Library (with sustainability in mind!).
- Lead a group hike at the local nature center and then have a picnic. Some students brought their families, and the weather cooperated.
- Organize a successful fund-raiser selling T-shirts with a graphic showing SENSE OF PLACE in the middle of an "Elven Star" or septagram with these words at each of the seven points: Geography, Environment, Regions, Geotourism, Natural Resources, Cultural, and Geospatial to represent the different degrees or degree emphases within our Geography degree program.
- Perform an initiation ceremony for four new initiates on March 28, 2016.
Epsilon Beta, University of West Georgia
Fall 2015: Our fall activity was Nat Geo’s Geography Awareness Week in November; we discussed food origins and cardinal directions with the Central Elementary School Girl Scouts Troop (30 girls), Carrolton, Ga. GTU students created a map of the US that the girl scouts could stick each state's most important agricultural crop too. For the older girls, we also did an activity with compasses.
Spring 2016: We held our 3rd 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 and UWG's Sustainability Council. We had 64 students attended and collected garbage from the lakeside and used rakes to pull garbage from the water. We also collected 12 tires.
Epsilon Delta, West Liberty University
Epsilon Delta at West Liberty University inducted 9 new members in May. This is one of our largest classes ever. Also, several members of the 2015 class remain on campus making our active GTU membership quite strong by Epsilon Delta standards. Highlights from this year include a sneaker drive that collected over 200 pairs of shoes for recycling and redistribution to developing regions, recruitment for the geography and planning major at University open house events, and two GTU members completing a study abroad trip to China in 2016.
Epsilon Kappa, Macalester College
Twenty members served as judges of the Geographers's Fair Co-sponsored by the Minnesota Alliance For Geographic Education and the Science Museum of Minnesota
Hosted the Midwest Undergraduate Geography Symposium which was attended by 120 geography students from Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Attended the exhibit "The Suburbs at the Minnesota Historical Society"
Sponsored a range of programs during Geography Awareness Week including a geo contest.
Epsilon Zeta, Appalachian State University
First chapter activity in five years
Initiated four new members
Fall and Spring chapter picnic
Fall and Spring chapter hiking trip
Participated in local river cleanup, awarded "Most Trash Collected" award
Eta Alpha, University of Vermont
Twenty-one undergraduates who fulfilled the GTU selection criteria were invited to join the Eta Alpha chapter in October 2015. Ten accepted the invitation and were initiated at a special luncheon in their honor during Geography Awareness week in November 2015.
GTU members and initiates facilitated the organization and staffing of events held during the Geography Awareness Week including a Career Planning Workshop; Informational table as well as the Gender and Geography Bibliography Hackathon.
At the Geography Department’s annual Appreciation Banquet on 18 April, 2013, 16 graduating GTU seniors were presented with their GTU cords. The Outstanding Senior awards went to two GTU students including one officer. All four of Globe awards (for either academic excellence or service to the department) presented by the Department during this Banquet were won by graduating GTU seniors, as was the Glen Elder Award for contributions in the areas of social justice, sexuality, South Africa, or political geography.
Eta Kappa, Salem State University
The Eta Kappa Chapter inducted into membership 8 undergraduate students and 3 graduate students at the Department’s annual Geography Day event on April 29, 2016. This year we invited alumni back to campus to join the celebration. Over 100 people attended this ceremony. Six GTU members, including some of this year’s inductees, were recognized for outstanding academic achievement and service to the community. Recognition included the James J. Centorino Memorial Award for Superior Academic Achievement in Geography, National Council for Geographic Education for Outstanding Academic Achievement in Geography, J. Michael Ruane Award for Excellence in Digital Cartography, Dr. John George Memorial Award for Scholarship and Service in Geography, Dr. John George Memorial Scholarship Awarded to a Junior, and 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. During the fall semester, the Chapter hosted the welcome back meeting for all of our majors. This took place on 17 September 2015 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 and faculty. The meeting concluded with the first of our GTU lectures: Dr. Steven Goldsmith presented an overview of his recently concluded research trip to Antarctica. On 23 October, the Chapter set up and ran the department table during the annual College Major’s Fair––this was a very successful event and the department was able to gain seven new geographers. The Chapter sponsored the department’s projects days (8 December 2015 and 26 April 2016). During these events, our seniors present their research projects. In total, we had 17 posters and 10 senior thesis presentations during the projects day events. The top projects are awarded with the Department’s Paul Crutzen Research Award during the graduation dinner. The department conducted three searches for tenure-track faculty and the GTU students played an instrumental role during the interview process and their input was valuable as part of our deliberations to hire. Finally, the Chapter inducted 15 new student members and one faculty member during the annual awards dinner on 19 April 2016.
Eta Psi, Louisiana State University
We initiated one new member into the organization in November 2015.
Eta Theta, Auburn University
Inducted 4 new members.
Eta Zeta, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Eta Zeta Chapter at Virginia Tech inducted a total of eight new members this year; three members majored in geography, three majored in meteorology, one double majored in meteorology and geography, and one initiate is a graduate student. Our new GTU members participate and lead the Geographic Society, which completes service projects such as the Big Event and Relay for Life. In the last year, our members traveled to local elementary schools to talk about geography and assist with "Kids Tech University," a campus-wide event that introduces STEM topics to local children and gives them hands-on opportunities to work with computers, maps, and participate in interactive labs.
Gamma Nu, University of Georgia
The Gamma Nu chapter of GTU has inducted more than 400 members. In 2016 15 inductees joined Gamma Nu.
Gamma Omicron, University of Texas at Austin
For 2016, we initiated two new members.
Gamma Upsilon, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Initiated two groups for the first time in 4 years.
Fall 2015 - Initiated 10 people
Spring 2016 - Initiated 4 people
Helped sponsor an end of school year picnic with 4 other students groups (Geography Club, Geology Club, Weather Club, and History Honors Society)
Gamma Zeta, Eastern Michigan University
This past April we have just re-activated our chapter after years of dormancy and have only initiated one member thus far.
This summer we are making a strong and solid effort to send out applications, email notices and reminders, and direct phone calls to students we believe would be interested in and eligible to become members. We are using social media, flyers, classroom announcements, and engaging with the current student clubs to attract members. As of today we have 10 applicants for our scheduled September initiation ceremony.
We will continue such efforts throughout the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year in order to establish a large cohort of applicants for an April 2017 initiation ceremony.
With these two ceremonies, and with the coordination of existing student groups for urban planning, GIS, geo-tourism, and historical preservation, we expect to have a robust, sustainable, and established student membership by the end of the 2016-2017 academic year.
By pairing the society with existing student club activities we will have close to 20 events next year where geography scholarship and career exploration will be the main topics. We look forward to an adventurous year.
Iota Gamma, Northern Illinois University
This was an exciting year for Geography and Gamma Theta Upsilon at Northern Illinois University. Coming off of a large induction class (9) last year, we continued with another large class (7). Both of these classes included undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students. Our chapter also engaged in service to the department and discipline by helping to coordinate and staff the symposium on maps and mapping that our department held during Geography Awareness Week.
Kappa Eta, Jacksonville University
Campus Cleanup on Earth Day.
Project Presentation on GIS Day.
Project Presentations on Jacksonville University's Undergraduate Research Symposium.
3 Field trips on canoeing and Kayaking the Itchetucknee River.
Kappa Lambda, St. Cloud State University
2015-2016 was an exciting year for Kappa Lambda Chapter here at St. Cloud State University. All new board members were elected this year as the chapter had gone into inactive status over the last couple of years. We had two membership drives this year and organized several social events including two movie nights, dinner as a group and geocaching and BBQ at the nearby quarries. The VP organized two geo-odysseys: 1) ESRI Story Maps presented by Dr. David Wall and 2) Castles, Crags and Coastlines presented by Dr. Gareth John.
Kappa Lambda did three fundraisers this year including two bakes sales and new T-shirts, which we designed as a group to sell at the area Geography Bee, at which many of our members also volunteered.
Seven of our members presented at the AAG conference in San Francisco. We also had two professors present, including our chapter sponsor, with two members as co-authors of their presentations.
Three members also presented at the SCSU Research Colloquium with two of the three receiving awards of 1st and 3rd place in this event! Our President took 1st place with her presentation titled "Generating Discourses: Framing visions of landscape concerning wind farm implementation in Wales, UK and Minnesota, USA." Our Secretary took 3rd place with her presentation titled "Of Moose & Men: A Geographical synthesis towards understanding the declining Moose Population in Minnesota". We are proud of our members’ accomplishments!
Looking forward to 2016-2017, Kappa Lambda has already started planning two more membership drives, activities for Geography Awareness Week, more socials, and a trip to the Apostle Islands.
The future looks bright for Kappa Lambda!
Kappa Upsilon, Texas State University-San Marcos
The Department of Geography at Texas State University has valued the contributions of GTU members for their outstanding service and representation of the department in the university and in the community at large. GTU members serve as the department’s representatives at colloquiums, special events, and campus-wide recruiting activities. In 2015-2016, Kappa Upsilon members continued to serve as ushers for the department’s prestigious Gilbert Grosvenor Lectures and the Texas Water Symposium. Speakers at those events included the Executive Director of the American Association of Geographers, Dr. Douglas Richardson, on April 13, 2016, and a highly qualified group of aquifer scientists on February 11, 2016. 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 Dr. Joseph Kerski, the Education Manager at ESRI, for the leading of a GIS workshop and tour of the geography department. GTU members also actively participated in the Annual Great River Cleanup on the San Marcos River. Kappa Upsilon was chosen to clean the Cottonwood Creek Watershed, a watershed that had been added for this year’s cleanup which took place on March 5, 2016. In addition, GTU members put together a team to participate in Texas State Universities Annual Bobcat Build project on April 2, 2016 to help the local community after serious flooding in the area.
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.” In fall 2015, GTU coordinated and led an Environmental Workshop which was conducted on a private ranch in the Texas Hill Country. The GTU officers led students on a multiple day camping trip in which they conducted a hydrologic flood hazard assessment, controlled burn, and overall environmental land management practices. Continuing the tradition of recognizing and fostering student excellence, our GTU chapter inducted fifteen additional new student members at the Kappa Upsilon Chapter Initiation Ceremony held on April 27, 2016.
Kappa Zeta, University of Northern Colorado
This spring we added 7 new members at the GTU initiation event and dinner. This event was attended by 5 past GTU initiates and 6 current Geography Faculty.
Lambda, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
GTU members make important contributions to the discipline of Geography and to the SIU Department of Geography & Environmental Resources through their outstanding volunteer activities. GTU is closely linked to Geography Club, and all members are excellent representatives of Geography on campus and across the local/regional community. In addition, we informed another GTU chapter about our many activities, as they sought ideas for future events. Overall in 2015-2016, our Lambda GTU members participated in an amazing number of environmental activities, including: Giant City State Park Workday; Carbondale Main Street Fall Planting Day & Downtown Clean-Up; Green Earth Inc Brush Hill Preserve invasive species removal; Keep Carbondale Beautiful volunteering (town cleanup, Polar Bear Cleanup, Read for the Environment, Pyles Fork Preserve and Attucks Park Workday); Green Earth and Keep Carbondale Beautiful Native Plant Sale, invasive species and trail work at Pyles Fork Trail, Monthly maintenance of the Pyles Fork Trail, Giant City Hikes, Keep Carbondale Beautiful Clean-up and Recycling day.
Lambda Chi, California State University, San Bernadino
The year 2015 was very active for the geography department. Students and Lambda Chi members went to field trips and organized activities on geography awareness day and earth day celebrations.
To date we have date inducted 27 (4 this year) and are hoping to induct more students in Fall 2016 during the Geography Awareness Day (17th Nov 2016). We have benefited from the AAG and GTU Visiting Geographical Scientist Program by inviting scholars from different fields of geography. We invited AAG (now past, then current) President Dr. Sarah Bednarz in November 2015 to celebrate geography awareness day and she gave an excellent talk on Thinking Geographically, which inspired and motivated students. We have a Student Association of Geography and Environmental Studies (SAGES) face book as well which comprises of GTU and SAGES members (https://www.facebook.com/groups/41310592394).
Lambda Phi, Millersville University
We inducted four new members during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Lambda Upsilon, Grand Rapids Community College
The Lambda Upsilon chapter at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) plays an important role in the institution’s Geography program: http://www.grcc.edu/socialsciences/geography. Throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, the chapter carried out an active agenda in service and research. Lambda Upsilon’s President continued to investigate public perceptions of global climate change and policy implications. She presented Michigan Science Standards and Global Climate Change Education: Politics, Problems, and Prospects at the Michigan Political Science Association 47th Annual Meeting.
The chapter President and Vice-President also conducted research devoted to examining food and housing insecurity among American community college students across the US. They noted that whereas a community college student in 1975 only needed to work full-time for 4 ½ weeks at minimum wage to cover the annual cost of tuition and books, today a community college student needs to work more than 18 weeks. To address this issue, they offer a multi-pronged approach, which includes attending to the food needs of community college students, a large proportion of whom are food-insecure, while also educating the public on the need for enhanced state funding of community colleges; at the annual meeting of the California Geographical Society, their presentation on the subject, Apathy is Not Acceptable: Taking on Poverty in American Community Colleges, was well-received. They also took part in a field study, which took them through parts of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley, Owens Valley, Mono Lake, Yosemite National Park, the Central Valley, and Big Sur; much was learned about the geomorphology and biogeography of arid lands, fire ecology in Sequoia forests, and water resources with reference to both agriculture and urban environments.
The research in food and housing insecurity prompted Lambda Upsilon to launch food drives on the GRCC campus, which resulted in the replenishment of the college food bank for students. The GTU chapter also raised funds for the education of girls in Africa through the sale of t-shirts and the 2016 African Wildlife Calendar. The $1200 sent this year from GRCC to Camfed keeps five girls in high school for a year.
The chapter also sponsored a Visiting Geographical Scientist for the 8th consecutive year. Dr. Maria Fadiman, Associate Professor of Geography at Florida Atlantic University, delivered a lecture to more than 100 members of the GRCC student body, faculty, academic staff, and local community titled People and Plants: Conservation of Forests and Cultures. Dr. Fadiman also visited Aquinas College, and she was interviewed for the Conversation with a Geographer oral history series.
The chapter President and Vice-President were recognized at the college-wide student leadership banquet. Each received the Lambda Upsilon Academic Service Award and the Lambda Upsilon Global Citizenship Award. The President received the Lambda Upsilon Leadership Award as well; more significant, however, is that from among 14,160 students, she was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Benham Service and Civic Engagement Award, which honors the one GRCC student who best exemplifies exemplary leadership through service and civic engagement.
In essence, throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, the members of Lambda Upsilon demonstrated not only a passion for Geography, but a knack for sound geographical scholarship. Moreover, they inspired others through their willingness to make a difference. Indeed, as they take on the task of assuming leadership roles in American society throughout the 21st century, they can be expected to perform with excellence.
Lambda Zeta, Wayne State College
For Geography Awareness Week in November of 2015, the Lambda Zeta chapter again sponsored its annual spectacle on campus known as the Geography Bowl. For the fifth year in a row, eight two-person student teams from all majors competed in a geography quiz competition - single elimination format - to determine the school champion. Geography-related items were given away to the audience during raffle drawings held between rounds. Over 100 people attended what is now billed at our school as the “Fastest 90 Minutes on Campus.” We also sponsored a public presentation during the Spring 2016 semester. Mr. Tadashi Nomura, coordinator of the Japan Outreach Initiative in the Asian World Center at Creighton University, spoke on “Japan's Dramatic Economic Recovery and Growth after World War ll.” Overall, the Lambda Zeta chapter initiated 4 new members in Fall 2015 and 7 new members in Spring 2016, one more than our total in 2014-15.
Mu Alpha, DePaul University
Our leadership group was not very active this year. Ten members attended the AAG in San Francisco, but no on-campus events were held.
Mu Chi, University of South Florida St. Petersburg
The Mu Chi Chapter at University of South Florida St. Petersburg had a great year again!
The chapter held a formal induction ceremony on December 02, 2015, attended by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The chapter inducted 6 new student members. In the fall semester, the GTU members also participated in the GIS Open House that welcomed over 200 middle and high school students.
In the spring semester, a number of the GTU members presented their works on campus as well as outside the campus. Amongst the presenters were the GTU president and vice-president who presented at the Association of American Geographers conference in San Francisco, California, that took place March 29 – April 2, 2016. GTU also participated in St. Petersburg’s Earth Day festival on April 22, 2016. The GTU also sponsored and participated in other campus-wide events including, the Environmental Science, Policy & Geography lecture on global warming, climate change and sea level rise – February 22, 2016; the Fracking in Florida seminar – April 7, 2016; the GTU fundraiser at Earl of Sandwich, St Petersburg – May 6, 2016; and the Field Data Collection event – May 23, 2016.
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 2016.
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 slowed in its sixth year of existence, introducing 6 new members. More visible was the Geography club, led by a non-GTU member, which provides a larger framework within which we situate our honors society. This year the students of GTU and the Geography club organized the GIS day scavenger hunt. Mu Delta’s website remained largely dormant this year http://www.urgeography.org/.
Mu Eta, Mississippi State University
We are getting back into the groove after having a year with little activity. We met about 4 times during the 2015-16 school year and conducted an initiation each semester. We inducted five new members in the spring and thirteen new members in the fall. The April initiation was celebrated with a dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Fortunately, some members will be returning for the 2016-17 school year, so we will have some continuity. We met in April to plan activities for the coming year. The new officers decided to have a monthly meeting with an invited guest from a different country, and an international potluck. The chapter elected a membership chair to assist with recruiting new members. Efforts will begin once school starts. A fundraiser dinner will take place in June during a departmental workshop. We hope to use some of our chapter money to help with travel to nearby geography meetings (such as SEDAAG) or to hold events with guest speakers.
Mu Kappa, Hofstra University
In the fall semester of 2015 Mu Kappa organized three events. Two of them took place in the National Geographic's Geography Awareness Week (November 18 and 19), and the third event was a photo contest that was announced in the Geography Awareness week and the winners were announced at our department's end-of-semester party on December 11, 2015. See details of the events listed below.
On April 13, 2016, we organized the annual induction ceremony where 20 new members (19 students and one faculty) were inducted. The ceremony was held as a luncheon at the University Club. The event was attended by both new and old members of Mu Kappa, along with Global Studies and Geography faculty and staff. Inductee and special guest Dr. Craig Dalton, Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Geography, gave the keynote speech congratulating the inductees and highlighting the value of geography for providing a spatial understanding of society.
Associate Professor Kari Jensen and Adjunct Assistant Professor Veronica Lippencott serve as president and vice president, respectively, of Mu Kappa, and they inducted this year's new members of Mu Kappa. Mu Kappa secretary made the printed program for the event, and the student event manager helped selecting the menu for the event.
Mu Lambda, University of Colorado Denver
- Held sixth annual career symposium, which brings in career professional from different fields to highlight what geography graduates do and allows for networking opportunities;
- Hosted a movie night of the "Great Divide" and guided tour of the S. Platte River;
- Co-hosted CU Denver GIS Symposium;
- Co-Sponsored several students for the regional and national AAG meeting.
Mu Pi, University of West Florida
Mu Pi Chapter inducted 16 new members in 2015 and 11 new members in the Spring 2016 semester.
The Mu Pi Chapter hosted BioBlitz events on October 18, 2016 and April 2 – 3, 2016. BioBlitz is an all-day event where professionals and hobbyists in natural and biological sciences join with volunteers from the community to count as many species as possible in the University of West Florida campus at the Edward Ball Nature Trail and the Baars-Firestone Wildlife Sanctuary. Activities included species identification within groups of Vascular Plants, Birds, Fungi, Fish, Mammals, Aquatic and Terrestrial Invertebrates, Reptiles and Amphibians and Invasive Species; a scavenger hunt tour designed to teach novices and young children about species identification; and trash collection along the trails. The information collected from the two events was mapped and the results made available to the public and researchers.
Mu Pi co-sponsored a T-shirt fundraiser for the Klaus J. Meyer-Arendt Scholarship. All proceeds went towards building this scholarship, which will provide stipends to E&ES students engaged in faculty-mentored research activities.
We hosted an “Exam Jam” for the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. GTU members were available as volunteers to tutor students for their finals in the following courses: Introduction to Earth Science, Environmental Science, Weather and Climate, Coastal Morphology, and Physical Geology.
There were several “Pot of Gold” events in the fall and spring semesters. Pot of Gold (POG) is a game show-style tutoring session, specifically geared towards preparing students for their exams in the Introduction to Earth Science course. This course accommodates both majors and non-majors, and as a tutoring program, we have to identify areas of difficulties amongst varying degrees of knowledge, interest, and topic understanding. This past semester we tailored-made each POG session in preparation for each exam, which focuses on differing sections of the course. Establishing expert tutoring for each section allowed us to answer any questions that may arise that required a more in-depth discussion. These tutoring sessions cater to between 25 and 40 students per exam. POG was first established in the Fall of 2015 to support studying for the final exam, however, with significant interest and success it was later determined to expand this exam preparation for each mid-term.
Members participated in the West Panhandle Regional Science and Engineering Fair held at the UWF campus. As volunteers, we served as judges of the student projects. Mu Pi members volunteered at the A.K. Suter Elementary School Spring “Splashfest” event on Earth Day, 2016.
Mu Psi, United Arab Emirates University
The academic year 2015/2016 has been quite a busy year for our department and GTU chapter at United Arab Emirates University. The department GTU club has made significant progress and efforts in promoting geography in and outside the university campus, its membership base and worked to further establish its organization. GTU has established a membership campaign among geography students by creating advertisement flyers, direct communication with the department students, and faculty GTU members championed GTU membership during classes.
Several workshops and events during the academic year 2015/2016 were organized by the GTU members for the geography students. In these workshops and events the GTU invited the department faculty and external guests to deliver lectures in geography related subjects.
GTU was very active in the department exchange program with the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) in Germany and organized a series of cultural events presenting the UAE culture and traditions in Germany for the wider German students at UDE. Furthermore, during the reciprocal German students visit to the UAEU the GTU club organized a series of cultural exchange activities between the students for geography knowledge sharing, educational styles and learning experiences.
GTU at UAEU was heavily involved in the preparation and execution of the 5th International Conference on Earth Observation for Global Changes (EOGC) & the 7thInternational Conference on Geo-information Technologies for Natural Disaster Management (GiT4NDM) held on 8-10th of December, 2015. These two joint conferences were for the first time hosted in the Arab world; which have successfully attracted over 300 international participants from 33 countries worldwide http://conferences.uaeu.ac.ae/eogc-git4ndm/en/about.shtml. In addition to the conferences preparations, several of the GTU members delivered presentations and posters during the conference.
To spread geography awareness and at the same time celebrate the UAE heritage, GTU members organized a Heritage day celebration where members made UAE maps or world maps using cakes, chocolates and cookies. On May 11th 2016 GTU with the faculty of the department support organized the ‘3rd Geography Research Day Exhibition’, and organized the “World Water Day” in Mar. 22, 2016. In these exhibitions a series of students’ research posters were shown for the geography students, university community and outside university attendees.
The GTU members participated in serval services oriented programs for community involvement and outreach. GTU organized the logistics of receiving a delegation from the Alqoaa High School for Males and Al Tafawouq School. The visit involved orientation for the high school students to get to know the university disciplines and geography learning activities.
In recognizing the need for students’ awareness of the working environments, and for fostering the connection between geography students and potential employers, GTU with the support of the department organized a series of visits for graduating students to several government entities. GTU also organized scientific visits to the several science conferences in Dubai such as GRASF in January 2016 and GISWORX in April 2016.
GTU at UAEU recognizes the importance of social media in spreading the information of its activities and as a means for attracting further membership. All activities organized by GTU, or where GTU had great leadership role, were presented at the GTU social media pages in Instagram https://www.instagram.com/geo.club.uaeu/ and Twitter: Geo_Club_uaeu.
Mu Rho, Owens Community College
Mu Rho chapter had a record number of eligible members for the 2015-2016 academic year, which is a good sign for the Geography program at Owens Community College. Out of the ten total students who were eligible for membership, four chose to join. These four geographers were inducted at our ceremony and luncheon held in conjunctions with Psi Beta (Psychology) Honor Society on April 21.
Mu Sigma, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Co-sponsored the following events:
- Geography Awareness Week Food Drive for local community pantry
- 3 Geo-Quest Lectures highlighting geography in the gen ed curriculum:
Cultural Gap Across the Atlantic: The US and Europe Compared by Dr. Kazimierz Zaniewski
Sustainability Issues in American Agriculture by Dr. John Cross
GIS Apps and Tools for Serving Communities by Dr. Coulibaly & Alumnus Stacey Henk
- Earth Week Food Drive for local community pantry
- Geiger Memorial Lecture:
Hurricanes through the Eye of a Geographer (from the Great White North): Understanding How Severe Weather Impacts Louisiana’s Culture by (Alumnus) Dr. Jill Trepanier
- GTU Awards dinner with Geiger Lecturer Dr. Jill Trepanier
- Began putting together information to build a new geography student handbook
Mu Upsilon, Kennesaw State University
During the 2015-2016 academic year, Mu Upsilon had a change of faculty advisor at the beginning of the academic year. The chapter held two meetings—one in the fall, the other in spring. At each of those general meetings the chapter's Constitution was not changed. During the spring term, two new students were initiated. Our chapter is looking forward to the future and to working with the Geography Club on various initiatives and events. 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 our students about places’ history, culture, and current topics of particular geographic place; geocaching events; Geography Awareness Week events; local hikes and field trips; and our annual GIS night at a local brewery.
Omicron, Shippensburg University
- Tutoring hours were offered for the Geography-Earth Science Department by each of the members of GTU
- Potluck dinner movie nights were held so show documentaries about a natural system or an interesting topic
- GTU Earth Day booth to raise awareness about the impacts of light pollution as well as to offer lessons on night sky photography
- GTU Initiation of 8 new members
- Planned events for the Fall 2016 semester to revise the tutoring system to maximize efficiency
- Planned seminar series through the department to educate the campus on natural processes
- Elected new officers
Theta Gamma, James Madison University
This year we held regular meetings and developed a cohesive network of students in our department. Meetings would discuss the upcoming events and ideas for growth as a group that could be possible. Some of the major activities accomplished this year include a bake sale fundraiser and tutoring students in lower-level geography courses. Our bake sale managed to raise a good profit to use for our account and allow for more activities during the upcoming year. We also received positive feedback for GTU members tutoring other students. This one-on-one tutoring really helped to set a good reputation for our chapter as well as help students feel more competent in their studies. Finally, at the end of the year, our chapter gave out awards for outstanding students outside of the chapter in our department. This was a chance for us to get recognized as a chapter as well as a chance to show our appreciation for hard work in university courses. If there is one thing that we strived to do, it is value our education. We believe this past school year was successful in that regard, and will set a precedent for years to come. Our chapter is looking forward to bettering the tutor program and recruiting even more members for a prosperous next year.
Upsilon, Bowling Green State University
The Upsilon Chapter of GTU initiated 3 students during the 2015-2016 academic year. All of our previous members had graduated.
The Upsilon chapter has an ongoing recycling project with TerraCycle. The chapter has provided a bin for recycling oral care products, which are usually very difficult to recycle locally. Any funds that are earned from these efforts will go towards defraying student expenses at the 2016 ELDAAG meeting at Northern Michigan University.
We look forward to initiating more students as they become eligible this next school year. Perhaps then we could fill all of the leadership positions.
Zeta Chi, Old Dominion University
- Membership drive with Dr. Donald Zeigler, former GTU national president.
Dr. Zeigler presented reasons for joining GTU and talked about various ways of encouraging students to join.
- Initiation of new members (April 8, 2016)
Dr. Paul Anderson and Dr. Hua Liu ran the official ceremony to initiate 3 new members to the Zeta Chi chapter.
- GIS Day (November 19, 2015)
Invited guests from various GIS companies who gave presentations on their work in GIS. Also, a student (graduate and undergrad) poster competition.
- Graduation Party (May 13, 2016)
GTU members held a party to honor those who graduated that week.
Zeta Gamma, Jacksonville State University
This year we hit our two-year mark of conducting monthly water quality testing for the community. In addition, we worked with other organizations on campus and got campus wide recycling to come to fruition. We inducted 8 new members to our organization.
Zeta Iota, Rutgers University
Several of our new initiates graduated in May 2016 with distinction and Honors. One member was awarded the Geography department's Andrew Hill Clark Prize, which is given to the most outstanding graduating senior, and the Rutgers University Henry Rutgers Scholar Award, a research award made to outstanding SAS Paul Robeson Scholars (i.e. SAS students completing an honors thesis) for outstanding thesis and overall academic record.
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 San Francisco. Several of those students, including many of our new initiates 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 held our annual spring social on 4/29/2016, during which we inducted 5 new members.
Zeta Theta, Northwest Missouri State University
Our highlights this past academic year were preparing for and running the Annual GeoBowl on campus that coincided with GIS week, our initiation ceremony in October, and our Movies around the World festival that spread across the spring term. Our GeoBowl this year had sixteen registered teams and we needed nine rounds to determine a champion. The event also garnered over 21 pounds of canned food for the local food pantry. In the spring, we showed three different films that reflected the people and culture of certain regions. In February, we began the festival with Slumdog Millionaire, in March we showed Blood Diamond, and in April, Waking Ned Devine. Our chapter initiated a larger than normal slate of new members and many of these new members are in their sophomore and junior years meaning there will be a good deal of stability as our chapter grows. In April, our chapter also assisted with a science activity for local Girl Scouts by designing and helping with a geocaching and GPS exercise. We also participated in fundraising activities that we will use for a GTU trip to Chicago in the fall of 2016.
Zeta Upsilon, University of Arizona
We inducted six new members this year.
New and existing members of GTU have been active leaders in several campus organizations, including the Model UN, Students for Sustainability, and the Environmental Awareness Society.
Zeta Xi, University of Toledo
While the Zeta Xi chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon had a light year in terms of new members (2 during 2015-2016 academic year), the current members were active in both service and social events. During Fall semester, members and advisors participated in the annual Clean Your Streams event, movie nights, and a Geopardy competition. In Spring semester, we hosted a reception for an alumnus of the Department, so that students could interact informally with alumni and discuss career opportunities. Our regular meetings combined reports and professional development opportunities for students. Many students practiced conference presentations and presented their research to GTU members, who provided constructive feedback for improvement. One of our members served on the AAG East Lakes Division World Geography Bowl team in San Francisco.
Zeta Zeta, Texas A&M University
Zeta Zeta inducted new members this year.