By Lia Hillman, Editor-in-chief
If you are interested in post-apocalyptic literature, bad poetry and semicolons, you may be interested in joining Sigma Tau Delta.
The Oklahoma Baptist University Sigma Tau Delta chapter took 11 students to Louisville, Ky. for the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention March 29 through April 1.
“This is the most students OBU has ever taken to convention,” assistant professor of English Dr. Kaine Ezell said. “Only one other school brought more students to this year’s convention.”
Sigma Tau Delta is an international English Honor Society. OBU has had its own chapter for 75 years.
“Its general goals are to confer distinction for students who demonstrate excellence in English studies, promote interest in writing and literature on university campuses and provide service for the community by fostering literacy,” Ezell said.
Professor of English Dr. Sidney Watson said the Sigma Tau Delta Convention serves two purposes.
“It functions as a conference for undergraduate and graduate students to present papers, [and] it also provides an opportunity for chapters to elect student and faculty members to the Board of Directors,” Watson said.
Noah Golaboff served as the Southwest Student Representative for Sigma Tau Delta, representing Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona on the Board of Directors.
He also had the opportunity to present a critical work on Percy Shelly titled “The Abode Where the Eternal Are.”
“One of the best parts of convention is getting to go to panels on the literature you really like and finding like-minded people,” Golaboff said.
Of the 11 students who attended, 10 were able to present critical or creative works.
Elyse Kusakabe, President of Sigma Tau Delta, presented a paper she had written about Buddhism in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.
“I presented because I thought that it would be a neat experience, as well as get other’s feedback on my thoughts,” she said.
Rachel Lowe, had the opportunity to present a short story called “Falling out of Love in a Coffee Shop,” which she said was inspired by Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.”
“My story is about a married couple having a conversation on the patio of a coffee shop,” she said.
“Although never stated outright, alcoholism and spousal abuse are heavily implied through dialogue and body language, leaving the reader responsible for making connections and deducing the true conflict of the piece.”
Sarah Combes and Stephen Briggs had the opportunity to be in the same panel called “Original Fiction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It.”
“I presented a creative fiction work at the convention that I wrote during Dr. Newsom’s Intermediate Fiction class,” Briggs said.
“The piece can sort of be boiled down to the six-guns and sorcery sub-genre of fantasy, and I presented it because I thought it was a decent story and wanted to share it among other writers.”
Other students who had the opportunity to present included Anna Burton, Evangeline Han, Lyndsey Kalinowski, Jana Tenbrook and Samantha King.
Jonathan Dent chaired a session for the convention.
Besides presentations, students had the opportunity to attend many other events within the convention like SigmaCon (a takeoff of ComicCon) and the Red and Black Gala.
“A few of us participated in Bad Poetry Night, in which we compose intentionally horrible verse and read aloud to the sound resonating boos,” Kusakabe said.
Those that attended the convention said they enjoyed getting to engage with like-minded people and spend time with the others within the OBU chapter.
“I learned just how much I enjoy academia,” Han said. “I loved going to the different panels, listening to the other presenters and grappling with the ideas they proposed in their presentations.”
Ezell encourages any student to contact him if they are interested in joining Sigma Tau Delta. The qualifications include two English courses after English Composition and a 3.00 grade point in both English courses and overall GPA.
“I highly recommend both Sigma Tau Delta and International Convention to any students who qualify for the organization,” Burton said. “It was one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career, and I’m so glad I decided to join and attend the convention.”