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How to Become an Honor Chapter

Of the 630+ chapters nationwide, the Executive Committee of Sigma Delta Pi names approximately 10-15 Honor Chapters each year for activities that best represent the ideals of the Society. Of these awardees, the highest ranking is granted the Ignacio y Sophie Gablis Award, and the chapter with a breakout/breakthrough year is presented the Phoenix Award. Chapters that maintain Honor Chapter status for a complete triennium earn the Octavio Paz Award, granted once every three years at Sigma Delta Pi’s Triennial Convention. Based upon the information provided in the chapter annual reports that should be submitted to the Executive Director early June, chapters are evaluated according to the following criteria (not listed in order of importance):

  1. Initiation ceremony (chapters with more than one initiation ceremony per year enjoy higher scores in this category);
  2. Relevance of the chapter projects to the Sigma Delta Pi mission (e.g., a highway clean-up project would not score highly);
  3. Quality of the chapter projects;
  4. Number of projects in relation to the size of the chapter (e.g., a chapter with only six members is not expected to carry out the same number of projects as a chapter with 30 members);
  5. Chapter officers (i.e., does a chapter have them?) and their involvement with the direction and organization of activities;
  6. Supporting material included with the chapter annual report (e.g., pamphlets, flyers, etc., that clearly show Sigma Delta Pi’s sponsorship/role with the activity in question);

To compete for the national awards, chapters should also consider the following:

  1. Elect student officers at the beginning of each academic year to establish a year-long agenda of chapter activities;
  2. Hold regular chapter meetings to monitor the progress of the aforementioned agenda;
  3. Involve as many members as possible in the chapter’s activities and ensure these focus on the students rather than the adviser or chapter director;
  4. Conduct a weekly or bi-monthly Spanish tutorial for elementary and intermediate level students at your institution and/or for local high school students;
  5. Hold a weekly or bi-monthly tertulia at a local Hispanic restaurant or favorite meeting place;
  6. Create a chapter journal that publishes the creative works and essays (in Spanish) of your membership and/or other Spanish students on campus;
  7. Establish an outreach program such as a translation and/or interpreting service for your local Hispanic community;
  8. Direct a Spanish poetry contest on campus and/or for the local high school students;
  9. Participate in career day in the local school system to emphasize the importance of Spanish to students;
  10. Increase the visibility of your chapter by either founding or participating in a week-long campus program that includes activities related to Hispanic history, language and culture;
  11. Host a guest speaker to address students on topics related to Hispanic Studies;
  12. Sponsor a weekly or bi-monthly movie night that showcases film related to the Hispanic world;
  13. Hold more than one initiation ceremony per academic year to increase the visibility of your chapter; many chapters hold an induction in both the fall and spring terms, and some hold a third initiation during the summer.
  14. Co-sponsor activities with the Spanish Club (if one exists) and/or with another chapter of a nearby institution;
  15. Present a play related to the Hispanic world;
  16. Ask the Chair of the Department or Academic Dean for seed money for certain worthwhile projects. Many chapters are surprised to learn that their respective institutions already earmark funds for such use;
  17. Establish a chapter website;
  18. Initiate any activity not already mentioned that relates to the ideals and mission of Sigma Delta Pi.
  19. Finally, do not forget to submit your chapter’s annual report! Honor Chapters are selected based upon these reports, so regardless of your chapter’s outstanding activities, if you do not submit a report, your chapter will not be considered for any national recognition.

These and other activities are described in further detail in the downloadable Chapter Handbook, an invaluable resource for all chapter advisers and student members of Sigma Delta Pi. If you have any doubts about these or other possible chapter activities, do not hesitate to contact the national office.

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