Site icon Sigma Delta Pi

En el Foco 2023

Nu Theta

Framingham State University

Since Framingham State University (FSU) reactivated its Nu Theta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi in 2019, the organization’s central pillars have been fostering an inclusive community and celebrating Hispanic languages, literatures, and cultures. During the fall semester of that year, students in Dr. Joanne Britland’s Spanish Civil War seminar discussed ways to create more opportunities to become involved in FSU’s Spanish program. FSU is an emerging Hispanic-serving institution, and the students wanted to share their passion for the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures with the university and local Boston communities. They decided to reactivate the Nu Theta chapter of Sigma Delta Pi and held their first initiation in December with Adviser Joanne Britland.    

Initiation 2019: the first group of inductees following chapter reactivation.

Nu Theta began with nine inductees: Zackera Solis (President), Samantha Cruz (Vice President), Mariah Prosansky (Secretary), Kathleena Thompson (Treasurer), Taylor Gaston (PR Director), Payton Hodson (PR Director), Patricia Lyna, Jessica Pollard, and Marc Respass. In Spring 2020, the group hit the ground running with several initiatives, including a weekly Spanish tertulia and coffee hour, film nights, and volunteering in the community. The COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly brought an end to these plans, but the group still met virtually throughout the rest of the academic year to practice Spanish. 

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the chapter sought ways to grow its budding community in the throes of the pandemic and completely virtual learning. The members’ goal was to maintain unity with students in the chapter as well as include other students. That year, the chapter held a virtual initiation and inducted three new members.  

The students became creative and hosted many virtual events that year to include a monthly Zoom Spanish Language Table held on the first Thursday of every month. To support local businesses during the pandemic, students ate together in the Zoom meetings and ordered takeout from Hispanic restaurants. For each language table, the chapter invited special guests from the Framingham and local Hispanic communities. These guests included FSU Professor Xavier Guadalupe-Díaz, Professor Everton Vargas da Costa, and Phillips-Exeter Academy Spanish teacher Diego Ardura. These events allowed students to learn about the cultures of their guests who also spoke with the students about different ways to use their Spanish language skills and cultural knowledge in their future careers in sectors such as education, nonprofits, marketing and business, among others.  

On the third Thursday of every month, the students hosted a more informal coffee hour on Zoom to meet and speak Spanish with each other without professors or outside guests. The chapter wanted to create a more low-pressure environment for students to speak Spanish. Chapter members encouraged entry-level students and students from outside of the major to attend.  

In addition to language-speaking opportunities, the students planned online cultural events. On the second Friday of every month, they held Netflix parties using the Netflix party application and screened Hispanic films. They also organized a virtual Spanish trivia night. Paul Beardmore from Gameshow Connection generously provided a free online trivia night for the group. The students helped Mr. Beardmore create trivia questions based on the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, and the event brought many members of the FSU community together for an evening of laughter and unity despite the separation caused by the pandemic.    

The following academic year (2021-2022), Framingham students returned to campus. Under the leadership of Kathleena Thompson (President), Alejandra Londono (Vice President), Chasity Barone (Secretary), Marc Respass (Treasurer), and Taylor Gaston (PR Director), the chapter was eager to grow its membership, and students held an initiation in both the fall and spring semesters and inducted six new members. The chapter remained active by continuing to host Spanish language tables and film nights.  

In 2022-2023, under the leadership of Alejandra Londono (President), Ingris Ramirez (Vice President), Chasity Barone (Secretary/Treasurer), and Emily Ferrucci (Public Relations and Marketing), the chapter reenergized. Due to recent graduations, these four students were the only remaining members of the chapter, and they met at the beginning of the year to set goals and identify concrete ways to grow. They recognized the need to build membership, but needed the resources to carry out their plans. To fund their projects, the students applied for and received $1500 from a university-wide grant of the university’s Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) because the Sigma Delta Pi goals aligned with the CIE’s mission of developing a community that values diversity, inclusion, and belonging.  

This funding helped the students plan and organize several events to engage with the FSU community, to include six Spanish Language Tables in the student cafeteria to encourage students to speak Spanish together. The grant paid for meals for all attendees. Welcoming students from all majors and minors, the group advertised the event through their revamped social media presence on Instagram, emails, and class visits. The chapter also held monthly film screenings at the Center for Inclusive Excellence.

2023 Spanish Language Table 

Chapter members sought ways to connect with external institutions and the Boston Metro West community. For example, members established particularly rewarding connections with visiting Chilean students through the ChileMass and Framingham English Language programs. As the visiting students were education majors who came to FSU as part of an exchange program, President Alejandra Londono organized a special session for education majors at FSU to engage in conversation with the Chilean students who spoke about the challenges and benefits of being a language teacher both in the US and in Chile. As Alejandra notes, “It was helpful for us to reflect as educators and talk about strategies of teaching the language. We realized how many similarities there are with teachers in Chile and the United States. We were able to create connections with people from another country and now have possibilities to go to Chile.” The students also met informally with the Chilean students outside of class for dinners and social events to share and learn about each other’s cultures.

2023 Chile Mass Education Symposium organized by Nu Theta

The chapter also volunteered in the local community by organizing a Spanish Club for middle schoolers at a Spanish/English dual immersion public school in the Framingham Public School System. Every Tuesday, chapter members volunteered and planned activities to teach students more about the Spanish language and Hispanic culture and traditions. The efforts of the four Nu Theta leaders helped grow the chapter to 10 members, with six new initiates that year. As a result of their hard work, they were recognized nationally by Sigma Delta Pi as an Honor Chapter and they received the Phoenix Award. The Nu Theta Chapter is honored by these recognitions and is excited to continue its activities in the coming years. You can follow the chapter on Instagram @fsu_sigmadeltapi and Framingham State’s Spanish program @fsuworldlanguages.

Initiation 2022, the group from this past year.




Exit mobile version