Omega Epsilon of Queens University of Charlotte
Los socios de Omega Epsilon.
Chapter Omega Epsilon was established at Queens University of Charlotte by Spanish Instructor Erin DeBell in the spring of 2011 with the induction of five Queens’ faculty members and seven students. Omega Epsilon has maintained active status and held one or two initiation ceremonies per year since that time. Beginning in the fall of 2015, under the leadership of former President Héctor Tricás, the chapter significantly increased its activities and presence on campus. Héctor received the Premio Gabriela Mistral in the spring of 2016 for his outstanding efforts to promote the mission of Sigma Delta Pi at Queens University. In the spring of 2017, the Premio Gabriela Mistral was granted to Alondra García Mendoza, who was vice president at the time, for her contributions. After Héctor’s second year as president, Omega Epsilon received the Honor Chapter distinction. In the fall of 2017, Alondra García Mendoza accepted the role of president and continues to lead the society with a focus on student recruitment and campus engagement.
Omega Epsilon has completed many noteworthy activities over the past several years. In the spring of 2013, under the leadership of President Kendra Mcmurray, one of the chapter’s earliest successful campus events was “Muchos Idiomas, Una Voz”, an elegant evening event that drew a large crowd and gave Queens’ students the opportunity to showcase a variety of talents such as poetry and music in languages other than English.
Since 2015, there have been numerous activities that have put Omega Epsilon and its mission to promote the Spanish language and culture in the spotlight at Queens. The “Lectura Maratónica del Quijote” was held on April 20, 2016. This event formed part of The Quixote Festival, a seven-month-long collaborative festival commemorating Spanish author and literary giant, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, and 400 years of “Don Quixote.”
“Life is But a Poem: A Poetry Night With Spoken Word Poet Herrison Chicas,” was held in the fall of 2016 and co-sponsored by Queens’ Center for Latino Studies. Herrison Chicas is a world-renowned spoken word artist whose work has been featured on major platforms such as National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and various TED Talks, reaching more than 1.5 million people worldwide. Chicas is the current Champion of the TEDxUNC Spoken Word Slam, a finalist in Slam Charlotte and Bull City Slam, and a semi-finalist in the YouthSpeaks Brave New Voices Poetry Slam, the world’s biggest youth poetry competition. This event was widely attended by the campus community and featured performances in Spanish and English.
“El día del idioma,” co-sponsored by Sigma Delta Pi and Queens’ Department of World Languages along with the Comité de Fiestas Patrias y Tradiciones de Charlotte, was held on April 23, 2017 and featured a series of brief presentations by community members from nearly all Spanish-speaking countries titled, “Así se habla en mi país.” This event brought prominent members of Charlotte’s Latino community to Queens and was attended by many students as well.
During the Spring 2017 semester, the Omega Epsilon Chapter also began a formal Mentorship Program in which current members volunteer to guide underclassmen who are interested in declaring a Spanish major or minor. The first “Cookies & Coffee” gathering was held for these mentors and mentees in the spring. The mentorship program creates a sense of community within the department and helps members recruit new Sigma Delta Pi initiates. Omega Epsilon has also begun sponsoring the Department’s Majors and Minors event each semester, and a tradition of holding this event prior to the initiation ceremony has taken root. The Majors and Minors event allows students who are interested in continuing their study of Spanish beyond the required 101 and 102 level to learn more by meeting with professors and members of Sigma Delta Pi who are often able to answer their questions and provide first-hand information about study abroad experiences and other opportunities.
In addition to these featured events, Sigma Delta Pi has co-sponsored a variety of Spanish language film nights over the past several years, including films such as Biutiful, Lo imposible, and Ixcanul.
One of the chapter’s distinguishing features is its vast array of re-usable documents and templates created by former president Héctor Tricás, who was skilled in graphic design. One such project was the creation of a bookmark with interesting facts about the Spanish language that were distributed to students to promote Sigma Delta Pi and encourage matriculation in advanced Spanish classes. Another featured project is a yearly “Anuario” with information on each member and the chapter’s activities for that year. As a result of these endeavors, Héctor Tricás’ proposal for Sigma Delta Pi’s national “Best Practices” session was accepted for presentation at the 99th annual conference of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese in Chicago in July 2017.
Omega Epsilon continues with its mission to celebrate the Spanish language and culture through campus and community events that promote mutual understanding and linguistic diversity. To date, Chapter Omega Epsilon has inducted over 40 members, which now include active, alumni, and honorary.