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Monmouth’s Phi Eta Sigma Chapter Goes To Alabama

Monmouth’s Phi Eta Sigma (PES) First Year Honors Society Chapter officers attended the national Centennial Celebration Convention for PES chapters across the country in Birmingham, Alabama from Oct. 14-16.

The University’s PES chapter officers were accompanied by Golam Mathbor, MSW, Ph.D., Professor for the Department of Social Work and advisor to the society. Mathbor introduced his history with PES, “As advisor, I have led many students to these annual conventions, which has given them an opportunity to learn from other student delegates nationally, as well as enrich their resume.”

This year’s convention recognized the organization’s 100 years of success with approximately 1.2 million members nationally. Monmouth University became a Chapter of Phi Eta Sigma National Freshman Honor Society in 1997 as its 272th Chapter. Monmouth University has hosted annual induction ceremonies since 1997, inducting approximately 160 students who have maintained a 3.5 GPA or above in their first semester at Monmouth.

In addition to a member’s induction ceremony, members are also invited to participate in national conventions focused on ethics and leadership, hence this year’s convention theme— “Celebrating 100 Years: Facing the Future Together.”

Mathbor said, “For this convention, I led a group of six student officers, and they had the opportunity to observe the successful journey of PES members during this event. Also, all delegates, including our students, participated in the pre-conference tour at Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.”

“The Monmouth student delegates I have led over the years have always made me proud in demonstrating their high sense of professionalism, civility, punctuality and good etiquette,” added Mathbor.

Their behavior is in line with Mathbor’s characterization of the honor society’s esteem. “This honor society encourages and rewards academic excellence, assisting students in their academic pursuits and career aspirations,” he said.

Emily Pawelek, a senior business student and President of PES, explained what the convention entailed for delegates.

She started, “Saturday was the main day for the convention where all the attendees were broken up into different groups to attend sessions related to Phi Eta Sigma’s foundational pillars. PES’s pillars include knowledge, health, and character.

Pawelek continued, “In these sessions, we discussed ideas about what different chapters were doing, which gave everyone new ideas to bring back to their schools after the event was over.”

Julia Chanakowski, a sophomore business student and Treasurer of PES, added, “We were able to collaborate and build friendships with local chapters of the society from all around the country. It was nice to hear what kind of leadership roles these chapters have at their university and how they are collaborating with their communities.”

According to Monmouth’s officers, this notion of collaboration was one of the most valuable parts of the convention.

Gabriela Schnur, Secretary of PES and a senior biology student, said, “Ultimately, this convention was a great way to network and make connections for the future.”

Schnur’s senior member counterpart, Emily Adamo, an elementary education and English student, concurred, “It was so interesting to hear about what other Phi Eta Sigma chapters are doing across the country and I hope it can help us to come up with some great ideas for our Phi Eta Sigma chapter here at Monmouth.”

Pawelek also mentioned the importance of the convention’s service emphasis. “Phi Eta Sigma’s philanthropy is literacy, so for the service part of the trip, everyone went to the Birmingham Public Library. We were broken up into four groups: one group cleaned the outside area of the library, two groups dusted shelves and reorganized books, and the last group helped paint a mural.”

Kaitlyn Welsh, a sophomore real estate student and PES’s Historian, encouraged students to fill the requirements of such an honors society. She said, “Students are encouraged to work hard, and being in the honors society acknowledges that hard work and looks good for students’ future endeavors.”

Chankowski added, “After being inducted into Phi Eta Sigma, you have a multitude of changes to meet new people, make more friends, and earn additional scholarships that are awarded annually to members of the society….At the end of the day, just being a part of this society enables you to make a difference as a leader in your community. Knowledge is power.”