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Virtual honors society finds its way to Miami’s campus through email

By Mary Schrott, Senior Staff Writer

Scholastic achievement is recognized in various ways at Miami University. Awards, scholarships, the Dean's List and even the President's Lists are offered to academically successful students. Aside from Miami-specific recognition, many students are also contacted by outside honors societies through email and letters.

While many students receive invitations to various honors societies, few take the time to respond.

But last summer, senior Christine Broda found herself on a listserv from the Society for Collegiate Leadership and Achievement (SCLA) and decided to reply.

"I was curious and emailed back inquiring why they had gotten my email," said Broda.

The email she received asked Broda to consider fostering a chapter of SCLA on Miami's campus.

SCLA is a national honors society that "honors students' achievement and empowers them to be the leaders of tomorrow."

There are upwards of 135 SCLA chapters across the country that, according to the group's website, "aim to maximize student potential through our powerful, customized skills development platform, vibrant mentor and peer community and competency-based certification."

Broda said SCLA reached out to her because of her senator position with Associated Student Government and her high GPA. She decided to work with SCLA after speaking with them and is now the chapter president and founder of the Miami University chapter of SCLA.

"For SCLA, the requirement is a 3.5 and what makes it different is the majority of work is virtual," said Broda. "You're not missing out if you don't make a meeting."

SCLA operates virtually by presenting members with various personality quizzes and connecting them to mentors around the country.

"It's like an online class, only an honors society," said Broda. "I already feel like I have all these connections"

SCLA is now operating on The Hub and will be recruiting members this spring. However, for some students, an online experience isn't desirable.

"I was hesitant to join an honors society that wasn't housed and had some connection to Miami," said senior Grace Clements.

Clements is the acting president of Miami's chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, another national honors fraternity.

"There are a couple things that I think are good benefits for having some connection on campus like an honors fraternity," said Clements.

Though SCLA is new to campus and plans to have several physical meetings after more members are gained, established honors fraternities like Phi Sigma Pi offer many events for its members.

"We are always working on fellowship, like by having an intramural team or having a bonfire at a member's house, so you can really get to know one another," said Clements.

Both SCLA and Phi Sigma Pi require a new member fee and semester dues to be considered an active member.

"People do get emails [from Phi Sigma Pi] saying 'Oh, you qualified,' but you don't pay any dues or fees until after you completed a semester-long induction. It's a competitive process," said Clements.