Chapter Activity Reports
Alpha, Illinois State University
In conjunction with the Department's Geography Club, GTU organized student field trips to local parks and also participated in recruiting missions to local community colleges.
Alpha Gamma, Western Michigan University
We were using this year to try to rebuild because of some issues that occurred over the last few years with a different faculty sponsor. We recruited new members, created a graphic for t-shirts and sweatshirts which were supposed to be used a fundraiser this year, and had a date and location set for a second fundraiser. Due to COVID-19 both of our fundraisers have been postponed until next academic year. We inducted 27 students into GTU this academic year, and our Spring initiation was due via zoom and highlighted on the GTU Facebook page.
Alpha Iota, University of Oklahoma
We were very pleased to induct four new members into GTU from the University of Oklahoma. Each of the members are great candidates for scholarships from GTU, as well as, future graduate students at top geography graduate programs. We were pleased to see that previous members have gone on to do good things, including attending graduate school and successfully landing jobs in the public and private sectors. Dr. Levenda is please to be the new Faculty Sponsor, and hopes to get more involved with GTU in the coming year. We would love to connect and consider ways to make GTU membership more diverse, as the benefits of the community are quite fantastic.
Alpha Mu, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The 2019-2020 academic year involved the reactivation of the Alpha Mu Chapter of
Gamma Theta Upsilon at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This chapter had been
inactive since 1988 despite a long-standing history of geographic excellence, including
scholars like Dr. Mary Jo Read. Our first year as a reintroduced chapter has included a
membership of previous GTU inductees and new GTU inductees. In total, the chapter
welcomed 12 new GTU inductees across two induction classes, along with 3 chapter
members whom had previously been inducted into other GTU chapters at other
institutions. Our latest induction ceremony was held virtually on April 27th, 2020. The
chapter plans to continue expanding its membership and student activities in the 2020- 2021 academic year, now that the majority of the logistics of reactivating the chapter have been resolved in the last year
Alpha Phi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
In October we hosted a grill-out for Gamma Theta Upsilon and Geography student Organization members and their guests at Pioneers' Park. This was a fun relaxing event to allow members to socialize and relax during a busy midterm season.
In November we hosted a GeoBowl (Geography trivia bowl) open to students at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and had more than 200 people attend. We have proved time after time that this is a fantastic event to bring geography into the limelight and get non-geography majors interested about the subject. In May we welcomed three new members into the Alpha Phi chapter of GTU via a virtual induction ceremony. Buller note- The students also had a Spring 2020 GeoBowl planned, but it was canceled due to COVID.
Alpha Sigma, Clark University
We were short-handed this year with the loss of two key staff personnel, and did not induct any students this year. We hope to resume the activities of GTU-Alpha Sigma in the 2020-21 academic year.
Beta Chi, Michigan State University
Geography Awareness Week activities in fall 2019. Career Day and Job Expo in 2020.
Beta Iota, East Carolina University
Chapter activities and meetings were undertaken in conjunction with two other department clubs, GeoClub and the ECU American Meteorological Society Student Chapter as all GTU members are also members of one or both of these clubs. Activities were restricted to the Fall semester due to COVID and included volunteering at a local church for a food pantry fund-raising event, a game night, and a bowling night. The latter two were wonderful activities aimed at developing camaraderie among the groups. At the start of the spring semester, several meetings were held, and several activities planned, all of which had to be cancelled. Here's hoping we can get back in action in the Fall.
Beta Xi, University of Missouri
During the 2019-2020 academic year, Beta Xi worked closely with the Mizzou Geography Club to build a sense a community in our department. Our members volunteered to pick up trash at the Mizzou Geography Highway Adopt-A-Spot as well as assisted at departmental events, hosted monthly social gatherings, designed and sold Mizzou Geography t-shirts and polos, as well as enjoyed a hiking/field trip in Mid-Missouri before the onset of COVID-19. We were pleased to initiate eight new members this year.
Delta Lambda, University of South Alabama
An induction ceremony was held in February (2020), bringing in several new members into the local chapter.
Delta Mu, University of Mary Washington
Epsilon Beta, University of South Georgia
Our Fall 2019 activities were (1) to participate in Safe Treat on the West Georgia campus. This brings in hundreds of children from the surrounding communities. We took this opportunity to hand out palm-oil free candy and brochures explaining the harm palm oil does to the environment and its animals.
(2) For Geography Awareness week, we visited a rural elementary school for 2 days and
conducted experiments with them. One experiment was on pH and the other on water
Our Spring activity has historically been Rake the Lake at Lake Carroll in Carrollton. However, the virus outbreak caused us to cancel all Earth Day-related activities. Career Night also takes place during the Spring semester and was also canceled. We always have GTU alums come and talk to current students.
Epsilon Delta, West Liberty University
With the closure of our campus in mid-March due to Covid-19, we were unable to hold Spring initiation for new members. Luckily, most eligible candidates will be back on campus this Fall and will hopefully accept the invitation to join the chapter.
Current membership was active in sustainability efforts on campus.
Epsilon Kappa, Macalester College
Despite the disappointment of having to cancel some of our big events in the spring semester of 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, our 2019-2020 GTU co-presidents did a fantastic job this year of programming events to promote Geography across campus, and to strengthen community within Geography.
Some of our Epsilon Kappa highlights include:
- Beautiful monthly newsletters that featured an events calendar, news, field trip and event
summaries and photos, faculty profiles/facts/news, student profiles, study away profiles,
and GTU membership info
- Daily programming during Geography Awareness Week, including button making,
watercolor map making, a faculty presentation by Dr. Xavier Haro-Carrión on "Land-Cover
and Vegetation Change at Regional and Local Scales in Ecuador," a showing of the movie
"Anthropocene," and a Friday night "Seniors at the Tap" outing to a local pub with staff
- Programming for our annual Lanegran Days event in February, including hosting one of
our GTU alumni, Dr. Anne Brown (now an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon)
for a keynote presentation on "Can Ride-Hailing Deliver Equity? Lessons for New Mobility
Policy." In addition, GTU hosted a student lunch with Dr. Brown, and organized a
Geography bowling night.
- Hosted an extremely exciting and successful version of Macalester College's "[email protected]"
series. GTU's event was called "[email protected]," and students from all over campus showed
up on a Saturday night in February for fun activities that combined art and maps, including
dymaxion globe folding, Nat-Geo earrings, watercolor cartography, and gunpowder
- Hosted an informational lunch for first year and sophomore students interested in
- Hosted five local GTU alumni back on campus for a "Pathways in Geography" dinner and
conversation about their post-grad pathways and adventures.
- Planned and were scheduled to host in April the annual Midwestern Undergraduate
Geography Symposium (MUGS) for geography departments around the Midwest,
including securing funding for Dr. Lindsay Naylor of the University of Delaware to be our
keynote speaker through the Visiting Geographical Scientist Program. Unfortunately, the
conference was cancelled due to COVID restrictions.
- Three of our senior students were scheduled to present their Honors theses at the April
Annual Meeting of the AAG in Denver that was also cancelled. They have deferred their
presentations until next year's meeting in Seattle.
- We inducted 9 new members in the Spring of 2020. GTU Honors cords and certificates,
along with a personal note from the Geography department, were physically mailed to our
new inductees in time for Macalester's virtual commencement.
Epsilon Psi, Colgate University
No highlights to report other than GTU members involvement in organizing two guest lectures (Charmaine Chua and Rashad Shabazz. Induction ceremony canceled (Covid-19).
Epsilon Upsilon, University of Missouri-Kansas City
None in 2020. Faculty sponsor on sabbatical leave.
Eta Chi, Northern Michigan University
Eta Chi's leaders helped keep the group together and supporting each other in the face of adversity. The Eta Chi chapter was active each month of the school year. Here is a selection of monthly activities:
- September - GTU hike to appreciate beautiful fall scenery
- October - Group study session and individual tutoring
- November - Graduate school panel that was very well attended by most of the
department's faculty, an alumnus, and many current students
- December - Individual tutoring, snowshoeing expedition
- January - Climate at Noon presentation
- February - Geography Jeopardy, Science Olympiad volunteer event
- March - Had planned to help co-host the Active Environmental Stewardship Forum with
a guest speaker from Utah; event was cancelled because of COVID-19
- April - GTU virtual induction ceremony by Zoom attended by faculty, inductees, GTU
officers, and GTU members.
This year for the sixth annual Anderton's Earth Day, Eta Chi members honored Dr. John
Anderton of Northern Michigan University's Earth, Environmental & Geographical Sciences
Department in a different way from last year's week-long series of events. Campus was
closed because of the global pandemic so participants were encouraged to submit a
photo of themselves outdoors on Earth Day. The GTU president compiled the pictures into
a collage that depicts a wide variety of landscapes.
The originally scheduled spring initiation ceremony was cancelled because it would have happened about a week after COVID-19 caused the campus to close. Instead Eta Chi hosted a virtual induction ceremony over Zoom for initiates, members, and faculty. It was meaningful to connect from a distance to celebrate accomplishments and the end of a school year that had unfolded in a way that no one could have predicted. We followed the year-old induction ceremony script that GTU Student Outreach Assistants had helped craft the previous year, and the gathering was an upbeat celebration. Who knows what 2020–21 will bring.
Eta Kappa, Salem State University
The Eta Kappa Chapter inducted into membership 11 undergraduate students and 2 graduate students at the Department's annual Geography Day event on May 8, 2020. Over 50 people attended this online ceremony. Two GTU members, including one of this year's inductees, were recognized for outstanding academic achievement and service to the community. Felicia Beaton was awarded the James J. Centorino Memorial Award for Superior Academic Achievement in Geography. Zachary Serino was awarded the J. Michael Ruane Award for Excellence in Digital Cartography.
Eta Sigma, School of Public and International Affairs, Wright State University
Eta Sigma at Wright State University inducted one new member this year. We also had one student attend the 2019 East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting held at Saginaw State University in October 2019. Planned and implemented GIS Day 2019.
Eta Psi, Louisiana State University
Eta Psi at Louisiana State University inducted six new members this year and three members last year that also included some undergraduate students which is not our typical population.
Eta Zeta, Virginia Tech
The Eta Zeta chapter at Virginia Tech added a total of 16 new members to our organization, which is the largest single induction in the last 4 years, and since I have been the faculty sponsor. This is due to a joint recruiting effort within the department, and more broadly across our college thanks to the College of Natural Resources & Environment Advising Center. Our new members come from a variety of backgrounds - many have primary or secondary majors in Geography or Meteorology among others in the college which include Sustainable Biomaterials, Smart & Sustainable Cities, and Environmental Policy & Planning.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, our planned activities were significantly hampered by scheduling and semester changes at the university in its closing for the virus. Though this did affect our end-of-semester plans, we look forward to seeing what future semesters bring the organization and hope to continue our upward trajectory in inducting new members. Thankfully, 15 of the 16 new members are rising underclassmen returning to campus in the Fall and will be able to continue their participation in the organization after the university opens for classes.
Gamma Lambda, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
For the 2019-2020 academic year, the Gamma Lambda Chapter of GTU had monthly meetings in conjunction with the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Geography Club. Additional events that GTU participated in include the Invasive Species Removal at John F. Kennedy Forest in St. Louis. We also planned to participate in the St. Louis Trash Bash in Spring, 2020 until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chapter had also planned to coordinate student travel to the AAG Annual Meeting in Denver, CO in April until that was canceled. Gamma Lambda members also attended and presented their research at the AAG West Lakes Meeting in October 2019. Two initiations were held (one in-person and one virtual due to the pandemic) to welcome new members. Finally, we hosted a GTU Scholarship Info meeting for GTU members to learn about how to apply for GTU's scholarships. GTU members also attended senior capstone project presentations within the department to support other GTU members and our fellow geographers in general. Chapter officer elections were held virtually in April 2020 and the following people elected to serve as officers during the 2020-2021 academic year:
Alyssa Hoog, President
Catherine Kruta, Vice President
Brett Bertok, Treasurer
In addition, Dr. Alan Black will be faculty advisor for Gamma Lambda chapter starting in the 2020-2021 academic year. The 2019-2020 academic year was not typical, but the Gamma Lambda chapter continued to thrive despite this and we look forward to the events planned for next academic year.
Gamma Omega, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
GTU - Gamma Omega co-hosted a fundraiser event in the November of 2019 raising money for the Spring banquet and GTU activities. Additionally, the club sponsored a float for IUP's homecoming parade called "Fall in Louvre with Geography and Regional Planning" - the float featured a scaled reconstruction of the Louvre in Paris since the theme of the homecoming parade was World Monuments.
Additionally, GTU co-hosted with our local chapter of Sigma Xi, the distinguished Lecturer Dr. Compton J. Tucker, NASA Senior biospheric research fellow.
Typically, Gamma Omega holds a banquet to induct its new members and recognizing outstanding research in geography in the Spring semester. This year we were unable to do so due to covid-19 restrictions - though we have six new members for induction as soon as possible.
Gamma Phi, Frostburg State University
GTU Gamma Phi was a quiet force in the mountains of western Maryland in AY19-20. If the chapter members had posted on the international FB page, the chapter would be a shoe in for a chapter award.
We had a total of 16 active members including six new members formally inducted in a bittersweet ceremony on Zoom Saturday May 23. During the academic year, the chapter was quite active and responsible for the following:
- September 6-8 Volunteered at the LaVale Lions Club Chicken BBQ in LaVale, MD
- September 21 GTU informational table at FSU Appalachian Festival
- October 1 Constructed display in FSU Ort Library celebrating Nigeria's Independence Day
- October 18-20 Volunteered at the LaVale Lions Club Chicken BBQ in LaVale, MD
- November 2 Adopt-a-Highway Cleanup, Midlothian Rd. Frostburg, MD
- November 11 Geography Awareness Week Movie Night (Behind the Curve)
- November 13 Shared table with Geography Club at FSU Majors Fair
- November 13 Geography Awareness Week Movie Night (Free Solo)
- November 15 Geography Awareness Week GTU Paint Night
- November 23 and 24 Food Drive for PAWS Pantry at Frostburg Weis Supermarket
- November 25 Sponsored two local families in need for Thanksgiving
- December 9 Toys for Tots GTU-Geography Department Toy Drive
- February 26 GTU Bowling Night at Sherwood Lanes in Frostburg, MD
Gamma Psi, Kutztown University
The Gamma Psi Chapter co-sponsored two events during the fall 2019 semester. One was a panel discussion on sustainability featuring two Geography alumna. The second was a presentation on Geospatial Intelligence, also by a Geography alumna.
Kappa Delta, Central Connecticut State University
For the 2019-2020 academic year, a total of 16 CCSU students were deemed eligible and invited to join the Kappa Delta Chapter of the GTU. Of those, 10 accepted the invitation and were prepared to be initiated at the annual department banquet in April 2020. Due to the campus shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual banquet was postponed until October 2020. All banquet activities, including GTU initiations, will take place at that time. One student, who knows they will not be able to attend the rescheduled event, has requested a Zoom initiation. This will take place during June 2020.
Kappa Upsilon, Texas State University
The Gamma Theta Upsilon–Kappa Upsilon in the Department of Geography at Texas State University participated in more than 22 activities in 2020. Despite complications with COVID-19, GTU–Kappa Upsilon represented the international organization through community engagement and university/departmental support. For their efforts, GTU members received numerous departmental awards.
Officers and members maintained a local rain garden and xeriscape beds at the Caldwell
County Justice Center in Lockhart, TX. The rain garden (1,500 square feet) was installed in 2017 to filter water accumulated from the Justice Center's parking lot. They picked weeds, put in new rock and mulch, trimmed bushes, and educated volunteers about the benefits of rain gardens. These efforts were featured in the 24 October 2020 edition of the Lockhart Post Register. By that time, GTU members contributed toward an accumulated 146 volunteer hours, about $3600 in labor.
Additionally, GTU members continued the tradition of maintaining a section of the San Marcos River through its Adopt-a-Spot commitment. The San Marcos River wells up from the Edwards Aquifer and contains eight endangered and threatened species. GTU's segment, Sewell Park, represents one of the most heavily trafficked and iconic scenes of the San Marcos River. This ongoing project coincides with the Sessom Workdays sponsored by the City of San Marcos, in which participants worked in riparian zones removing invasive ligustrum, constructing contour terracing, dragging small brush to be chipped, pulling invasive seedlings, broadcasting native seed, and removing trash.
Other volunteer opportunities arose, as well. President Jack D'Ottavio volunteered an estimated 24 hours—two hours every two weeks for three months—tutoring for the Hernandez Elementary School's Gifted and Talented program. D'Ottavio and Vice President Maximillian Stuart helped to coordinate Hernandez Elementary's annual Geographic Bee in January 2020. GTU members supported the Department of Geography on Bobcat Day, a series of events featuring TXST representatives recruiting high school students. Newly inducted member Azariah Reese also began volunteering for the Texas Alliance for Geographic Education.
Sporadically throughout the year, GTU members held informal mapathon events inspired by the international organization, YouthMappers. Members used OpenStreetMap to locate buildings and roads in areas that have experienced natural disasters or civil unrest, with the goal of assisting local governments and first responders.
The following GTU members served as course tutors for the Department of Geography: Maximillian Stuart, Jack D'Ottavio, Richard Powe, Sydney Sivy, Francesca Filippone, and Ally Schlandt. They tutored for courses in world geography, physical geography, geographic information systems (GIS), quantitative research methods, meteorology, and water resources.
The following GTU officers received departmental awards for the 2019-2020 school year: Francesca Filippone (The Richard A. Earl GTU Scholarship; Richard Wayne Simmons Geography Advocate Award), Maximillian Stuart (Undergraduate Student Award for Outstanding Service), and Jack D'Ottavio (Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Service).
Kappa Zeta, University of Northern Colorado
We had no activities this year. However, we did have 17 new initiates and are hopeful that next year's group will be quite active pending the coronavirus situation.
Lambda Phi, Millersville University
The Lambda Phi chapter is pleased to welcome 9 new members to Gamma Theta Upsilon this academic year.
Lambda Psi, Ohio Northern University
The chapter at Ohio Northern University initiated four new members this year.
Lambda Upsilon, Grand Rapids Community College
Chartered in 2007, the Lambda Upsilon chapter at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) continues to play an integral role in the institution's Geography program, which, having been recognized with the 2020 AAG Award for Associates Program Excellence Honorable Mention, is considered one of the top two community college geography programs in North America. Chapter members engage in community service, as well as scholarship, while also organizing and participating in events promoting Geography as germane to solving 21st century problems.
For the eleventh consecutive year, Lambda Upsilon's effort in raising funds for female education in Africa has been successful in supporting a number of girls attending high school in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. On a local level, a program devoted to nourishing children living in poverty was supported by Lambda Upsilon efforts as well.
MaryAnne Flier, the chapter president, demonstrated exemplary leadership in organizing these initiatives, which play an important role in shaping the future of children and youth in urban American and rural African places. She launched food drives for local children for Kids' Food Basket and spearheaded an effort that raised $4800 for the Campaign for Female Education, which funded the high school education of 20 girls in Sub Saharan Africa. In recognition of her leadership, academic achievements, and efforts devoted to serving humanity, she was awarded Lambda Upsilon Academic Distinction, the Lambda Upsilon Academic Service Award, the Lambda Upsilon Global Citizenship Award, and the GTU Certificate of Excellence, as well as the GRCC Geography Lives! Field Studies Award. She is the third GRCC geography student in four years to be awarded the prestigious Hruby Scholarship for study at Aquinas College.
In any event, chapter members also continued to conduct research in a variety of fields, presenting findings at academic conferences. MaryAnne, for example, presented a paper at the East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers meeting at Saginaw Valley State University titled: "Assessing the Political Impact of Evangelical Christians in a Midwestern Battleground-State Community," for which she took first place in the undergraduate student paper competition. This appears to be only the second time a community college student has taken first place at an AAG regional division undergraduate paper competition (the first being in 2017, with a paper presented by GRCC student Kara Jueckstock at the ELDAAG meeting in Ypsilanti).
The Lambda Upsilon chapter engaged in other activities as well. With the World Affairs Council of West Michigan, Lambda Upsilon provided support during the presentations made by speakers in the Great Decisions Lecture Series. Of especial significance were the lectures delivered by NPR Southeast Asia Correspondent Julie McCarthy and Raza Ruhmid Ahmad, the Director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic made presentations by Pulitzer Prize Winner Sonia Nazario and Latin America and China analyst Margaret Meyers virtual (rather than face-to face). Further, the pandemic forced the postponement of the annual Visiting Geographical Scientist's lecture at GRCC, as well as the cancellation of annual meetings of the American Association of Geographers and the California Geographical Society, which GRCC GTU members and alumni were scheduled to attend.
Despite these issues, the chapter accomplished much, and some promising geography students, encouraged to consider careers in geography devoted to fighting social injustice, became members of the chapter. Indeed, it was the events associated with police brutality and the violation of 1st amendment rights by our head of state that sparked them to look to geography as a path to follow to right some social wrongs For sure, Lambda Upsilon members accept the notion that the onus is upon each of us to work toward making constructive changes toward advancing justice and equality for the black community. Black Lives Matter!
Lambda Zeta, Wayne State College
In October 2019, the chapter sponsored a public presentation on campus. A recent Wayne State College geography major now working in private industry government returned to our campus and presented a talk entitled, "Head First: Learning Geospatial Technologies with a Hands-on Approach." The talk advocated using GIS to learn advanced techniques and technologies in surveying.
In November 2019, the Lambda Zeta chapter held our annual Geography Bowl on campus in conjunction with Geography Awareness Week. Since 2011, geography students and faculty have coordinated this activity. The event begins with eight two-person teams (from any majors) and uses a single elimination format to determine the Wayne State College champion. A raffle to give away geography-related promotional items to audience members takes place between rounds. Again, this year, over 150 people attended the event. Local GTU chapter students and faculty ran all aspects of the Geography Bowl, billed as "The Fastest 90 Minutes on Campus."
Also, in November 2019, our chapter helped to organize the fall semester Social Sciences Day activities on campus. The event included initiation ceremonies featuring each of the social sciences honor societies followed by a reception afterward.
In December 2019, our chapter sponsored an entry in the annual Festival of Trees celebration, a campus-wide holiday season fundraiser. Organizations agree to decorate and display "themed" trees in the Student Center atrium. Each participating organization pays an entry fee and the collected donations go toward the purchase of gifts for local children from families in need (identified by County Social Services).
In April, the incoming GTU President was awarded the Dr. Randy Bertolas Geography Scholarship for the upcoming academic year.
The Lambda Zeta chapter initiated nine new members during the 2019-20 academic year, three in November 2019 and six in April 2020 (due to COVID-19 concerns, no formal initiation ceremony was held in April 2020).
Lamdba, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
This was a very odd year for GTU and Geography Club. The Fall began with a flurry of activities for all student groups on campus: Light Up the Lake Welcome Event, the RSO
Fair, and several fun College of Science events, including College Connection and Research Connection. At all of these events, GTU student members participated and assisted faculty in "connecting" geography with students from other majors. In addition, GTU and Geography Club were active in recruiting new Science Ambassadors, who were then active in many Open House and other events across campus. Thus GTU and Geography Club students were often the welcoming and fun "face" of our department for undergrads here.
These 16 excellent Geography students qualified and were sent letters of invitation to join GTU. Due to COVID19, all on-campus activities were suspended on March 6. Thus, our ceremony was cancelled. In addition, there was no way to take money for memberships, so this was also suspended for the 2019-20 academic year.
Mu, University of Minnesota – Duluth
Mu is supporting its department's effort to build a culture surrounding our new degree program (as opposed to four separate degrees in the past).
Mu Alpha, DePaul University
This year, we inducted 4 new members into the chapter: Kevin Stock, James Leighty, Quinn Comprosky, and Roxanna Lewicki. Our graduating seniors were given GTU graduation cords at a zoom ceremony, at which the new members were also inducted. Other typical activities, namely organizing to send students to the annual meeting of the AAG, were not possible this year.
Mu Eta, Mississippi State University
The chapter was fairly quiet this year in terms of activities. We had one meeting in the fall. We would most likely have had another meeting in the spring to talk about electing officers and setting goals for next year, but we did not return to campus after spring break.
This semester has shown the promise of virtual meetings. With so many of our GTU members being online students, and campus still being partly online in the fall, it might be a way we can build a stronger GTU community for them.
We did add new members in all three semesters this year, including a special summer initiation at the request of one of our students (20 total). Summer actually had quite a high level of interest. I sent out the membership information only to students who'd applied for graduation and told them they still had time to apply before they graduated. That seemed to be effective and was a manageable way to target a subset of the students who would be qualified.
Mu Kappa, Hofstra University
Mu Kappa and the Department of Global studies and Geography celebrated Geography Awareness Week by organizing two guest talks on Wednesday, November 13, 2019. Mu Kappa's Director of Events, Dr. Craig Dalton had invited three of his research colleagues from other universities to enlighten us on different Geographical topics: In the first talk, Dr. Emma Fraser (Lancaster University) and Dr. Clancy Wilmott (UC Berkeley) presented on "Digital Games, Digital Geographies, Urban Play in Video Games," discussing the relationship between video games, digital urban environments, urban play, and lived experience. In the second talk, Dr. Jim Thatcher (University of Washington, Tacoma) presented on "Electoral Districting in More Than Euclidean Spaces," which explored how we can use maps to re-imagine how we draw electoral districts and how travel-time can be used as a means to measure equity, access, and representation in voting and representational districts. The lectures were very well attended, with many students asking questions during the Q&A sessions. We organized a luncheon in between the talks where students and faculty could talk with the speakers.
On Tuesday, December 3, 2019, Mu Kappa and the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) hosted a Trinidadian Diversity Dinner. The event had ample support from the Hofstra Community: The Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Office provided funding for the event as did the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Inclusion. By 8:30pm, the Hofstra University Greenhouse was packed with more than 80 guests including students, faculty, staff, and friends and family of main host Sophia Hadeed. As food is central to Trini culture, the restaurant chosen had to be a true representation of the tastes of the islands. Trinciti Roti, a restaurant located in South Ozone Park, Queens, delivered exactly that. The food reflected the blended cultural influences of African, Indian, European, Chinese, and Arab communities, all of which are present in Trinidad. Dinner included an array of authentic and traditional Trinidadian cuisine such as doubles (curried chickpeas and fried dough (barra) with sweet tamarind sauce, pepper sauce, and sliced cucumbers), stewed chicken, pelau, and more. Sophia Hadeed '20, board member of both Mu Kappa and CSA, was the main speaker at the event. Two of Hofstra's international students, Daena Laplaceliere '23 (Global Studies) and Vivek Omar '23 (Biochemistry), also shared their experiences growing up in Trinidad, moving to New York for Hofstra University, and explained what it means to them to be Trinidadians. In true Trini fashion, music is a must. The island rhythm was maintained by Hofstra alumni, Brandon Fonville '19, also known as DJ Liv, who has a way with projecting the vibrations you feel back home in Trinidad. Hofstra alumni Virginia Donalds '19 facilitated an open dialogue alongside Sophia, adding Caribbean flair and charisma to each question. Several students shared stories about not only Trinidad, but their homes in other countries in the Caribbean as well. (Thanks to Sophia Hadeed for providing this dinner report.)
On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, Mu Kappa organized a virtual induction ceremony held over Zoom, in which the number of Mu Kappa members was increased by 20, to a total of 158. Keynote speaker, Dr. Burrell Montz, Professor of Environmental Geography and Planning at East Carolina University, Executive Secretary and past President of Gamma Theta Upsilon, offered a lively recount of her journey to the world of geography. Because of her passion for studying the intricate connections between humans and their physical surroundings she left high paying jobs as an environmental consultant and environmental planner and embarked on her doctoral studies in Geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She decided to study the flood that had occurred in her hometown three years prior, and this became the beginning of a long career dedicated to the study of natural hazards, water resources management and environmental impact analysis. Dr. Montz has advised many graduate students on these topics and she mentioned that she has enjoyed the opportunity to travel to many countries and all over the U.S. for research, conferences and talks. She has also been involved in several climate change related projects in North and South Carolina. She spoke passionately about the unique characteristics of the academic discipline of Geography, which entail such a diverse skill set that it can be successfully applied to a huge range of topics, such as the current COVID19 situation. She congratulated our initiates on their accomplishments and ensured them that they are entering an organization with very strong networking opportunities. Sophia Hadeed '20 (Mu Kappa President), Adriana Galarza '20 (Vice President), Margaret Engel '21 (Historian), and Ligia Clara-Arenivar '19 (Secretary) led the ceremony to welcome the new inductees. Overall, Mu Kappa welcomed 20 new student members this past year!
Mu Rho, Owens Community College
Mu Rho chapter inducted one new member this year. Our annual induction ceremony and luncheon, held in conjunction with Psi Beta Psychology honor society, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're still working with the Psi Beta advisor, within our department, and with our college marketing staff to find some ways to virtually recognize these students.
Mu Pi, University of West Florida
The Mu Pi chapter inducted twenty-nine new members this academic year. Despite the CoVID-19 pandemic, most of our spring plans were postponed to the next academic year. However, we did manage to accomplish plenty during the fall. Overall, 20 members volunteered over 200+ hours, leading and assisting in various projects and events. In the fall, our club participated in intramural volleyball and inducted 29 new members! This Spring semester, we geared our efforts towards strengthening our tutoring program for the department and outreach to local schools in collaboration with the Pensacola Mess Hall (a local science museum and nonprofit). We met with some undergraduate students for one-one-one tutoring sessions as well as ran review sessions for introduction to Earth Sciences. Members participated in a "Curiosity day" with the Mess Hall themed: Contraptions. Curiosity Day allows for volunteers to be exposed to educating opportunities with kids K-12 by facilitating activities made by the museum for visitors. Another event we did with the Mess Hall was a Family Science Night geared towards K-5 graders at East Milton Elementary. There, we taught elementary students how to locate objects using compasses and created a world map puzzle where students can predict where certain countries go based on their shape and context clues. Members coordinated and participated in social events such as nature trail hikes, social events, dinners, Geography Awareness Week, Homecoming events, Intramural Sports (Volleyball), and tailgating at UWF home football games. We had 11 students graduate this Spring and Summer semester. New member Nate Winn was presented with the annual chapter excellence award for his hard work and contribution of his time (20+ hours) this Fall semester.
Mu Rho, Owens Community College
Mu Rho chapter inducted one new member this year. Our annual induction ceremony and luncheon, held in conjunction with Psi Beta Psychology honor society, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're still working with the Psi Beta advisor, within our department, and with our college marketing staff to find some ways to virtually recognize these students.
Mu Upsilon, Kennesaw State University
During the 2019-2020 academic year, the chapter inducted 8 new members in the Fall 2019 semester. In November 2019, members assisted with Geography Awareness Week activities, as well as with our department and college hosting a version of the "Spaces and Places: Mapping Science" exhibit. Several members also assisted with our GIS program's annual GIS Night event, held on GIS Day during Geography Awareness Week. In Spring 2020, the pandemic curtailed recruitment efforts and chapter activities. Despite the slowdown in 2020 due to the pandemic, our chapter is looking forward to future growth and to working with the Kennesaw State Geography Club (as many GTU chapter members are also members of the Geography Club) on various initiatives and events and with Geography Awareness Week in November. 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 places (2020-2021 at KSU is the "Year of Greece"); geocaching events; Geography Awareness Week events; local hikes and field trips and other events in partnership with the Geography Club; and our department's annual GIS night at a local brewery that occurs during Geography Awareness Week.
Nu Eta, Missouri Western State University
GTU members joined the Geography Club in painting one map on a school playground and selecting a second school. The painting at the second school is postponed until it is safe to meet for the project. One new member joined.
Nu Iota, University of California-Davis
2020 marks the Nu Iota Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon's (GTU) third year at the University of California, Davis (UCD).
The chapter's current president, Sasha Pesci, and vice president, Gwyneth Manser, were elected in October 2019. They continued to grow the young chapter's membership in 2020, and they hosted a 'geography' themed initiation ceremony on Zoom in May of 2020, during which they welcomed seven new members. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, other in-person activities could not be held this year. Members Sally Neas, Nick Santos, and Erica Scaduto were among the ten 2020 recipients of the AAG-GTU Travel Award to attend the AAG Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Nu Lambda, Fort Hays State University
For the 2019-2020 Academic Year, the Nu Lambda Chapter held Inductions, Elections, Social Events, and Graduation Events. The circumstances of the Pandemic left the FHSU Chapter, unable to carry out some of its planned events. The Chapter was able to hold elections and celebrate inductions in September with the Election of both Undergraduate and Graduate Students. Chapter was able to have various social hours throughout the year, and had a Halloween Party, and a Friendsgiving Event.
Nu Mu, Middle Tennessee State
Nu Mu inducted four new faculty members.
Nu Nu, Muskegon Community College
It was during a field adventure to Meridian – Baseline State Park, MI when the idea for a chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU) was first discussed among the Muskegon Community College (MCC) Geo Club students. The students were determined that even after a three-mile hike in the pouring rain that they wanted to learn more about Geography, and the International Geographical Honor Society. That group of students began two important projects in June 2019 - geographical research and building their own chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon. The Nu Nu Chapter installation was delayed due to COVID-19. However, the new members of GTU conducted their initiation as part of the MCC Virtual Commencement Week 2020.
Three faculty and the four GTU officers spent Summer 2019 developing original research projects to be presented at the East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers Meetings held at Saginaw Valley State University in October. One of our officers, Leeanna Harris, won third place in the Undergraduate poster category. The research and conference experience gave the students greater inspiration to integrate geography into their career pathways, and a connection of GTU into their student lives both as community college and university transfer students. We would like to recognize Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook from Western Michigan University. She has been our guide and mentor in learning about GTU and transferring from the 2year to 4year academic environments.
On the MCC campus the GTU officers attended MCC student government meetings to learn about budgets and activity planning. They were discussion and idea leaders for all MCC student honor society and club members. Reid and Leeanna proposed chapter activities, a budget, and the number of students impacted. Some of our activities included donations to the JayHawk Food Pantry, a day at the MCC Fab Lab learning how to recycle technology devices, and re-design of the Geo Club t-shirts and stickers to represent GTU - Nu Nu. The students also left a plan of activities and budget for the Fall 2020 students. We would also like to recognize our Chapter President, Stephanie Carr. This Spring she was selected as a Student Outreach Assistant for East Lakes. This year has been a very exciting year for Geography at Muskegon Community College. We are one of only four academic disciplines to have an honor society on campus. Our GTU – Nu Nu students have built a beginning, what will be a Geography legacy in Muskegon, MI.
Nu Theta, University of Southern California
The USC Spatial Sciences Institute hosted a number of events in the 2019-2020 academic year to promote the practice and advancement of geography and geographic information science in which our GTU chapter was either a co-presenter and/or had the involvement of GTU chapter members.
The highlight of the Fall '19 semester, once again, was our USC GIS Day Mapathon in which more than two dozen staff, students, and faculty joined forces in a friendly competition against UCLA to use Humanitarian Open Street Map and Missing Maps to map areas affected by natural disasters. While UCLA narrowly edged out USC (for the first time), several thousand buildings and roads were mapped. In the Spring '20 semester, the Spatial Sciences Institute once again hosted its annual Los Angeles Geospatial Summit. This event brings both graduate and undergraduate students in geography-related disciplines from a number of southern California universities together with working professionals and members of industry. The daylong conference provides insights on emerging trends in the use of geography toward everything from environmentalism and sustainability practices to national defense and human security. Students have the opportunity to hear from experts, share poster and paper presentations, network with colleagues, and visit with recruiters. Attendance for this event continues to grow and we again had almost 200 individuals present at this year's event. This year, we added a GTU table to our "Knowledge Network" that was staffed by our GTU chapter students and faculty to promote GTU and the organization's mission. Also in the Spring, the Spatial Sciences Institute participated in USC's Earth Day celebrations with a special presentation by professor and Esri employee Dr. Orhun Aydin on mapping plastic in the oceans.
Throughout the year, the Spatial Sciences Institute continued this year to plan, sponsor, and host an ongoing speaker series for students at all academic levels. Students, staff, and faculty enjoyed presentations on the developing smart cities in Amsterdam, using Google Street images for community-oriented research, using "smallsats" to detect human rights violations, mapping ambulances and emergency response teams, and geospatial analysis of military defense fortifications along the Great Wall of China. The Speaker Series was once again highlighted by a colloquium held in January in which Dr. Elisabeth Root, Geography and Epidemiology Associate Professor at the Ohio State University presented "Addressing maternal and child health in an opioid epidemic: Fostering Government- University partnerships for data-driven policy making."
Finally, the USC Nu Theta chapter of GTU held its formal induction ceremony at the end of April via Zoom, initiating more than 40 new more undergraduate, graduate, and staff members in to the organization. Holding the ceremony online meant that many initiates were able to include family members and friends from across the country. While plans to attend conferences were ultimately cancelled, GTU students and faculty were recognized in a variety of ways, including the USGIF Golden Ticket award (Elin Henningsson - our 3rd GTU student to win the award), the 2019 UNIGIS International Association's Academic Excellence Prize, and the 2019 Esri Development Center Student of the Year (both won by GTU student Cass Kalinski).
Omicron, Shippensburg University
- Members provided department tutoring twelve to fifteen hours per week; this continued online during the second half of the spring semester.
- Members represent student voices at departmental and university events such as Career Day, university visitation days, and Earth Day.
- Members led the planning of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Many events were moved to online due to the coronavirus.
- Ten new GTU members were inducted during spring, 2020.
Theta Gamma, James Madison University
- Helped attract volunteers for Harrisonburg 2019 climate strike.
- Began initiative to give members experience through volunteering to tutor younger students in geography.
- Worked with other university organizations to provide members with after grad advise and council
Theta Xi, Old Dominion University
Covid-19 reduced many activities, but Theta Xi is soldiering on with WVU Geography
reconstituting the undergraduate committee and seeking to liven the activities and outreach of our clubs, including the Theta Xi chapter.
Zeta Chi, Old Dominion University
Zeta Chi was active heavily in the Fall semester, but activities were halted by COVID-19 in the Spring. We inducted 2 new members. In the fall, we held GIS Day and had a great turnout. We had close to two hundred attendees and over fifteen presenters. Participated in several community service events such as Clean the Bay. Which helps keep the Chesapeake Bay clean by removing debris from nearby rivers and storm drainage systems. We removed over 500lbs of debris on one trip and and about 300lbs on the second. Networked with cultural clubs and campus orgs to hold several events and collaborated on several trips. Most notably our yearly camping trip in the fall and food/culture nights such as Multi Cultural Night. Also helped run a Halloween party, and planned to perform at the Royal Gala in the spring.
COVID-19 may have hampered our events, but we still kept in touch and planned our resurgence in the fall.
Zeta Omicron, Worcester State University
It has been a challenging but rewarding year for the Zeta Omicron Chapter. Members continued to hold regular meetings to help support and orient geography and environmental science students on campus. The chapter remains an important social space for geographers who would otherwise rarely see each other outside of classes at our commuter-oriented school. Chapter leaders organized several hikes and a canoe trip to local state parks and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) sites. Many of the chapters planned meetings, events and activities were postponed or cancelled because of the campus closing due to COVID-19 mid-semester. Our in-person induction was postponed and will happen later in the summer to coincide with graduation so that more families can participate.
The chapter saw a larger-than-usual number of members graduate this Spring – despite the challenges of online courses – which has shrunk the chapter significantly, but we are very excited for the graduating geographers to go out into the world. Two members won departmental awards, one for being the highest-ranking member of the class and the other for outstanding service to geography and the university. Several members are going on to graduate programs at nearby schools and are looking forward to guiding a new group of GTU leaders in the Fall and continuing to contribute to a strong network of geographers in New England.
Zeta Zeta, Texas A&M University
We continued our efforts to increase the number of eligible students inducted to the GTU every academic year. In addition to the wider dissemination of information about our Chapter within our College, we started offering to cover the one-time fee for student inductees to help attract more of our graduating students to the GTU.