Communication honor society takes top award

UCA’s Mu Theta chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Honor Society for communication majors, have been named chapter of the year.

The National Communication Association in San Antonio, Texas, plans to recognize the UCA group at their 92nd annual meeting on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The organization’s three executive officers, along with their adviser Nelle Bedner, have arranged to travel to San Antonio for the Nov. 15-19 conference to receive the plaque and $200 check and to speak about ethics. Bedner received the Thomas L. Veenendall Lambda Pi Eta adviser of the year in 2005.

UCA’s chapter was chosen out of 422 chapters nationwide. Liz Davis is president of the chapter and said the recognition is a great honor.

“We’re one of the smallest chapters in the country, and we competed against the chapters of some of the largest universities in the nation,” Davis said. “The executive board worked on a portfolio of all the things our organization accomplished last year. We had some major events unfold, like our [300 toy] contribution to the world’s largest stocking, [a philanthropy project that gathered toys for children during the spring 2006 semester],” Davis said.

Vice President Amanda Johnson said: “It is such an honor for our organization to get this recognition. We were competing against some universities that had over 100 members. We have around 25 members, but chapter of the year shows that our organization is doing wonderful things for this campus and for the community. It’s incredible to be nationally recognized.”

According to Mu Theta’s mission statement, the society has six goals: “to recognize, foster and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies; to stimulate interest in the field of communication; to promote and encourage professional development among communication majors; to provide an opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas in the field of communication; to establish and maintain closer relationships between faculty and students; and to explore options for graduate education in communication studies.”

In addition to holding monthly meetings, participating in the RSO fair and organizing fund-raising activities, the members of Mu Theta participate in campus and community philanthropic activities. Bedner said these activities include working with the Arkansas Stamp Out Smoking campaign.

“Each semester Mu Theta chapter forms a committee to judge, evaluate and select a winner of the Stamp Out Smoking contest among high schools across the state,” Bedner said. “Mu Theta was honored to be able to help Stamp Out Smoking spread their positive message across Arkansas.”

The chapter also helped with the creation of the world’s largest Christmas stocking. One member, Brittany Jones, along with the UCA community, achieved a place in the “Guinness World Record.” Jones helped collect over 11,000 toys for children. The Mu Theta chapter of Lambda Pi Eta was the second-largest donor at UCA, with more than 300 toys. The toys were later distributed to Toys for Tots, Salvation Army Angel Tree and other local children’s organizations.

Bedner said she likes to stay in touch with the projects the chapter’s activities.

“I like spending time with the members brainstorming and planning for ways to meet the goals of the organization,” Bedner said. “I enjoy being a part of their dialogue and sharing in their camaraderie.”

The executive board attributes the success of the organization to a strong member base. Johnson said everything depends on the members.

“Our members are always coming up with new ideas to participate in, and everyone works as a team. We have a very close-knit group and that definitely helps when we have to come together to do philanthropies, bake sales and conferences,” Johnson said.

Treasurer Lauren Harper said: “The dedication of our members is what won us the award,” Harper said. “They go above and beyond when it comes to helping with and participating in our events and philanthropies.”

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