Phi Eta Sigma plans an exciting year

Phi Eta Sigma plans an exciting year

Gillian Mazur and Samantha Weber

Nationwide, Phi Eta Sigma is one of the oldest and largest honor societies for first-year college students. The Mercyhurst Chapter is one of the 386 chapters throughout the United States. 1,250,000 members are a part of PES throughout the United States since it began.

PES was founded at the University of Illinois on March 22, 1923. Within the past few years, the Mercyhurst Phi Eta Sigma (PES) Chapter was revived once again. Previous President, Ethan Wagner ’21, was one student who took on the challenge of transforming Mercyhurst’s PES Chapter with a new vision. Part of the new vision of the rebooted PES Chapter at Mercyhurst was to get students more actively involved in service, academics and leadership. PES is now arguably one of the largest organizations on campus with around 400 members. For students who remain active members, by the time of graduation one can receive honor cords as well as Scholarships while at Mercyhurst. More than $300,000 in scholarships are awarded annually to students through the national organization.

Students are eligible to join PES at Mercyhurst if they retain a 3.5 GPA out of a 4.0 scale. Qualifying students are invited after their freshman year to join the honor society once the required GPA for the year is held. In order to get one’s cords at graduation, one must remain an active member. At the end of each school year in April, one must write a “letter of intent” explaining why the student in question should keep their “active” status. These letters are then reviewed by the board officers of the Mercyhurst chapter. In addition, all members must attend at least one general meeting each year, one offered in the fall and spring. Students also get the choice to demonstrate active participation in two out of three chosen areas which are service, leadership and academics. Two PES-sponsored events are held each semester. One of the events sponsored by PES annually is the Erie Po-lar Plunge. In order to get a scholarship through the organization, one must participate in local chapter activities through the community, evidence of creativity, potential success in one’s own field of study and have letters of recommendation.

PES is once again holding its campus clean-up events and Lake Erie Polar Plunge. Junior HR major, Erin Sopher, is one of the members of the Mercyhurst PES chapter. “My favorite thing about Phi Eta Sigma is being able to do different things and service on campus and out in the community. I also love to meet new people through the organization,” said Sopher. Senior Music Therapy major and PES Historian, Tori Altsman, said, “We are super excited to be able to give back to the MU community through service again. We have a lot of new members eager to start serving and we look forward to being able to demonstrate the pillars of our society again.

Senior President Mary Clare Cousins adds:I’m excited because this is actually the first year that we have four classes of active status members who have been working to earn their graduation cords since freshman year.  Prior to this year, graduating seniors had already been given their cords at their freshman year induction ceremony, so they did not have to do anything to earn them over the course of their time here at Mercyhurst.  The class of 2022 is the first class to not be given their cords at induction and instead be held to a list of active status requirements that they had to show completion of each year.  We are excited to have completed this 4-year transition because we feel it adds an extra layer of honor and accomplishment to the seniors who put in the time and effort to work for the cords and wear them for graduation.  Because of this change, our chapter was one of only 16 chapters nationwide to be awarded the Pyramid Award for Chapter Excellence during the 2018-2019 academic year.  We also have a 3-year streak of members winning scholarships from the national office, totaling $25,000.  These are accomplishments we are very proud of, and we hope to maintain this level of excellence for years to come.” said, Cousins.