Ellen Barlow

Month of the Scholar 2016: 5 Ways to Celebrate

Did you know that since 2011, the National Panhellenic Conference has designated February as the Month of the Scholar in order to increase the commitment of women’s fraternities to academic achievement and excellence? Here are some non-traditional ways you can help celebrate the Month of the Scholar within your chapter:

1. Highlight a scholar of the week: The women recognized could be high scholastic achievers, but don’t forget those who should be recognized too for scholastic improvement. Is there a sister who has made significant strides to improve her study habits? Is there a sister who has made a conscious effort to establish rapport with her professors or schedule time to attend study skills workshops tailored to her needs at the academic success center on campus? Did a sister meet her GPA goal she set for the fall 2015 term? Depending upon how they like to receive feedback, you could recognize these women in a chapter meeting or by a simple note or small treat in their mailbox. (Keep in mind that not everyone likes to be recognized publicly.)

2. Think about scholarship as it relates to a broader context: Intellectual curiosity involves more than just doing well in school. It is about broadening your understanding and appreciation for the world around you. Plan a trip with your chapter to a cultural attraction or event on your campus or in your city. This could include a local museum or historical society; an outing to a theater production, musical, ballet, concert, or orchestra performance (bonus points if a sister is performing!); hosting faculty to the chapter facility for informal conversations on their research focus areas; or going to see a hosted speaker or lecture on campus. These opportunities are plentiful and can enrich your appreciation for things outside of the norm.

3. Host a relaxation event: Let’s face it. College can be stressful. It’s important that as we encourage high scholastic achievement, we also encourage self-care. Whether it’s hosting a sundae or cookie night during midterms, a spa day in the middle of the month, or a yoga class on a Saturday morning, encouraging sisters to take time for themselves is just as important as encouraging them to study.

4. Invite your favorite faculty member to coffee or tea: Remember that celebrating scholarship and academic achievement doesn’t have to be labor-intensive. Building relationships with faculty is something at which Theta excels, and it doesn’t take much to begin to form partnerships. You never know when you’re going to need a professor’s recommendation, and coffee is a good place to start!

5. Celebrate internships and other learning opportunities: Are there members in the chapter who have an internship, are student-teaching, studying abroad, or doing undergraduate research? Consider giving them a platform (if they’re comfortable, of course) during a chapter meeting to briefly discuss their experience so far (you can Skype in the abroad members if it’s feasible). Because these women have a number of commitments outside of the chapter, giving them an opportunity to talk about their outside-the-classroom experiences not only makes them feel valued, but also allows other women to learn from them.

What are you doing to celebrate Month of the Scholar? Be sure to add a comment below or use the hashtag #NPCscholar to let us know what you’re doing to promote the highest scholarship and intellectual curiosity!