Honorary looking to train next generation of leaders

By J. Ferguson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

One of the most successful coaches in the history of football, Vince Lombardi, said that "leaders aren't born, they are made."

The essence of that quote thrives in Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Today is the final day the society is accepting student applications to join the leadership honorary, said Melanie Levine, UA chapter president.

In order to join, students are required to have a 3.0 grade point average, junior-class standing and previous leadership experience, Levine said.

Levine, a media arts senior, said there are five areas of leadership that students can refer back to for their leadership experience: scholarship, athletics, community service, media arts and performance arts.

Students interested in taking an active role in the community who have a desire to improve their leadership skills make excellent candidates, said Stephanie Freeman, chapter vice president.

Freeman said she joined the honorary to take an active role in the community.

"I participate in other clubs and honoraries, but I was seeking a more direct connection to community service in the Tucson," Freeman said.

Last year, the honorary participated in a walk-a-thon with the Tucson Muscular Dystrophy Association, raising more than $300.

"It was a great way to directly participate with the MDA and help them in effort for muscular dystrophy research," Freeman said.

Ryan Kanto, a chemical engineering and engineering management senior, said the chapter has also worked in the past with the Primavera Foundation and the American Red Cross.

"It's a great experience not only to gain leadership skills but to pass leadership skills to others," Kanto said.

While a majority of its members are students, the honorary is not an organization solely for students; a portion of the membership is reserved for UA faculty, staff and alumni.

James Knight, the former chapter adviser and a professor in agriculture education, said non-student university members are nominated. Knight, a chapter member, said the organization united students, faculty and staff for a common purpose: developing leadership traits.

"It is kind of unique," Knight said.

Kanto estimated 75 percent of the members of the chapter are students.

Applications for membership are available at the Associated Students of the University of Arizona office on the third floor of the Student Union Memorial Center.

Levine said while the application is due today, a required letter of recommendation from a faculty member can be submitted after the deadline. Students with questions about joining are encouraged to contact Levine at melanie4@email.arizona.edu.