Sigma Delta Pi and COVID-19: Tips for Remote Initiations

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With more colleges/universities transitioning to e-learning due to COVID-19, your chapter of Sigma Delta Pi will likely need to plan for remote induction of new members this spring.

Some suggestions to prepare:

Prior to the remote ceremony

  • Order and prepare ceremony materials to include membership packets (pins and certificates) and appropriate ceremony table items for display; a small desk/table in an office will suffice for this purpose.
  • Schedule the virtual ceremony in a space that has internet access and an operable webcam.
  • Work with your institution’s IT department to determine best software for video conferencing with multiple users: Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. Once determined, do a test run with the software prior to your ceremony.
  • Confirm that your student candidates for membership have access to the selected software and are familiar with its use.  Provide them with details related to the scheduled ceremony such as access instructions.
  • Display a Sigma Delta Pi poster or banner behind you during the video ceremony to reinforce the nature of the event.
  • Due to the special nature of the video ceremony, you may wish to use the “formula abreviada” of the Ritual (click here for access); to access the ritual, use the password: 1919. Be sure to review the Ritual prior to executing the remote ceremony and make small adjustments as necessary since many of the F2F practices cannot be managed remotely: e.g., sitting in a semi-circle, retrieving membership items, signing the registry.
  • Prepare the membership certificates per the instructions included in the mailing.

During the ceremony

  • As done with the F2F ceremonies, play some appropriate Hispanic music in the background (e.g., classical guitarist Andrés Segovia)
  • When reading the name of each initiate, hold up their printed certificate in front of the webcam along with a membership pin.

After the ceremony

  • Plan to either mail the membership certificates and pins to the students, or arrange for their retrieval when your institution resumes F2F classes. In many cases, mailing might be the only reasonable option.
  • Work with your marketing/public relations department to announce as appropriate the video induction of your new members.
  • For those video-inducted members who will eventually return to campus, arrange an appropriate reception in the department to recognize their Sigma Delta Pi membership.

Remind all students who are inducted remotely, and all involved with this important recognition, that despite the unique modality of the initiation, their membership is no less meaningful than those initiated before them. All Sigma Delta Pi members satisfy the same high national criteria, and being confirmed for membership is an honor that ALL current members of the Society share equally as well as share the same available benefits afforded to ALL Sigma Delta Pi members:

Finally, thanks to all of you, our chapter advisers, for your hard work to ensure all qualifying members of Sigma Delta Pi are recognized this spring and despite the hurdles that face us all during this challenging time.

If you have any additional ideas regarding remote induction ceremonies, please feel free to share as we continue to try to provide the best guidance to our chapters and their related activities.

Spanías Didagéi Proágomen,