By Alida Kunsa
KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Political science senior and Pi Sigma Alpha president Jen Lum poses by the fountain at Old Main yesterday afternoon. Pi Sigma Alpha, a political science honorary, won best chapter of the year for its creativity and activeness.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
The UA's political science honorary, Pi Sigma Alpha, was awarded best chapter of the year for 2003-2004 for their creativity and activeness on campus.
There are over 600 PSA chapters nationwide, and the UA chapter was selected from the pool for the category of universities with a population of 15,000 or more.
The award came as a pleasant surprise to PSA's president Jen Lum, a political science senior.
"I am surprised, but at the same time not really. I do think we deserve it. I am really happy that someone recognized us for all our hard work," Lum said.
PSA, a politically neutral group, has been involved in the Rock the Vote Campaign, which encourages youth to vote.
The group has also worked to register UA students to vote, and has hosted fund-raising activities, social gatherings and other events to encourage political awareness.
Lum said being politically neutral is important and said PSA wants to include independent voters and others who might otherwise be left out.
Although PSA received the award letter, certificate and a check for about $250 in the mail in July, the club didn't find out they had won national recognition until they opened the envelope at an executive board meeting just last week, Lum said.
"The award will be a stimulus to do better," said political science professor James Todd, the honorary's adviser.
Chris Marino, a political science senior and active PSA member, said he hopes PSA can strengthen political involvement on campus.
"There are a ton of kids out there that are into politics. We wanted to get the campus more involved," Marino said.
As the 2004 presidential election approaches, the club says they will host parties to watch the debates and will register students to vote.
Although the UA chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha has been on campus since 1962, they have struggled to keep the club active in the UA community.
According to Todd, PSA has fluctuated in membership during his 13 years as adviser.
A year and a half ago membership was at a low, until Lum, with the help of Marino, worked on increasing the group's membership and presence on campus, Todd said.
Todd said he is "delighted" that his chapter won after being involved with it for so long.
Not everyone can get into PSA. Students must either be a major or minor in political science and have at least a 3.0 GPA overall and in their political science courses.
Members must also have completed 13 political science units.
Lum said membership isn't the most important thing, and the goal of PSA is to get the student community involved in politics
"The important thing is to inform people because that is one of the most powerful tools, information," Lum said.