Georgia Southern National Honor Society Chapter Earns Highest Honor at National Conference

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Friday, February 8th, 2019

Georgia Southern University Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society chapter on the Statesboro Campus recently earned the Capstone Award, the highest honor of the evening at the national Phi Eta Sigma Chapter Excellence Awards, held in Washington, D.C. The chapter was the only one in the country to receive the recognition.

“The Georgia Southern Phi Eta Sigma chapter is a group of well-rounded student-leaders who demonstrate best practices in their studies and organizational duties,” noted Chris Caplinger, Ph.D., faculty advisor to Phi Eta Sigma and director of First-Year Experience. “They are compassionate and excited to continue learning how they can improve the world around them.”

The pyramid on the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society crest symbolizes strength, stability and long-standing tradition. Phi Eta Sigma seeks to recognize and reward local campus chapters that demonstrate those characteristics by presenting annually the society’s Pyramid and Capstone Awards.

Of the 210 chapters in the country, 13 won the Pyramid Award, but Georgia Southern’s chapter was the sole recipient of the Capstone Award, presented to chapters that undertake exemplary service or leadership projects and participate actively at the national level.

The Capstone Award continues a pattern of recognition for the chapter and its members. Since 2010, the Phi Eta Sigma national organization has awarded $70,000 in scholarships to Georgia Southern students.

Known for their dedication to service and volunteerism, the Statesboro chapter works closely with the University’s Office of First-Year Experience and helps new students adjust to college. In the fall, more than 60 Phi Eta Sigma members served as student assistants for Conversations with Professors, a 75-minute program that partners a faculty member and a student assistant with a small group of new students to discuss expectations in a college classroom, and how to successfully navigate coursework. Ninety-four percent of entering first-year students participated in the program.

In addition, chapter members participate in the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement’s Alternative Breaks Program, an immersive, service experience in which small teams of students travel away from campus during breaks from school with the goal of engaging within a new community through education, service and reflection.

They also direct efforts throughout the Statesboro community, volunteering at Retails thrift shop, which supports a nonprofit animal rescue group, and ArtsFest, an annual Statesboro-Bulloch Parks and Recreation event hosted on the Statesboro campus.

“They have raised the bar for volunteering, with a project almost every month of the school year,” noted Caplinger. “It is also notable that much of their volunteering is directed to promoting the success of first-year students. This is an exemplary group of peer leaders.”

Phi Eta Sigma is the oldest national honor society for first-year college students in the U.S. Georgia Southern students must earn a minimum 3.6 GPA after the fall semester of their first year as a college student to become a member.