New president helps honor society get back on its feet

New president helps honor society get back on its feet

April 28
02:53 2016

Alexandria Reeves | Staff Writer

@alliereeves23

Twice a month in Willis Library, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars spends its meetings making plans to reestablish itself after nearly losing its foothold on campus.

The local chapter at UNT was a notable organization in previous years. It earned “Silver STAR Status” in 2010. But in the last three semesters, NSCS members at UNT have tried to recover from several officers graduating and its membership dwindling down to about 15 students.

NSCS prides itself on community outreach and academic success among its members and offers resources for members such as study sessions and scholarships.

“We have a primary goal to build each other up academically,” chapter president Kelsey Poole said. “We make sure every member is okay and is on a good pace as far as their academic path while they are at UNT.”

The decline

Four officers graduated fall 2015. When they left, membership began to decline as well.

The chapter’s bi-monthly meetings offered free food and prizes as incentive for prospective members. Attendance for every meeting was high, but retention was nearly nonexistent, Poole said. A wave of apathy spread to the less involved officers. Many people attended, but only to get free stuff before not returning for additional meetings, she said.

“Once the members started to fall off, and stopped coming to things, the same thing happened to the officers,” Poole said.

The other officers made Poole president for spring 2016. She was chosen informally because the chapter lacked the structure and members necessary for the proper nomination process.

“I had to do it because nobody else was around to do it,” Poole said. “I was going to be active in the organization until I graduated.”

Trying to recruit new members

Almost half of the current members believed NSCS was a scam, and were wary of paying a $95 membership fee to an unknown organization, Poole said. The national organization sends invitations via mass email with instructions to join on the NSCS website. Students who don’t sign up before the deadline are sent several reminder emails asking for the money.

“It looked like a fake email,” Kimendran Chetty, a new member of the organization said. “I was really doubtful about joining.”

In order to combat this issue, the UNT chapter was recently allowed to send membership invitations to prospective members using the UNT email system.

“When people read the emails and have questions they can get replies from an actual person,” Poole said. “It’s not going to be the same format, it won’t say the same scripted thing, so it seems personalized for that person.”

Poole said she allows members to lead the organization rather than making all the decisions by herself. Her leadership style, she said, is aimed at encouraging students to take more control and stay longer. The chapter’s need to establish connections allows for a creative and interactive process among members. 

“The members that are active right now have been putting forth a lot of really good ideas,” NSCS member Samantha Elliott said. “At the meetings I’ve heard a lot of their feedback.”

The new policies have increased the number of members from 15 in fall 2015 semester to 45 this semester.

“We have provided fliers and spread information by word of mouth to classmates who have a high GPA,” vice president Becky Rinard said.

Establishing campus presence

Although the principal goal of NSCS is to be active in the community, the executive board chose to spend this semester revitalizing the chapter on campus before resuming community outreach.

NSCS has spent this semester networking with other organizations on campus.

“We should be more connected with each other to start off,” Poole said.  “And then build unique, creative events so people will talk about NSCS and want to get more information on it.”

In the upcoming semesters, NSCS plans to attend Mean Green Fling and tailgate at football games. They also plan to do a food drive, volunteer at an animal shelter and collect books for underprivileged schools, Rinard said.

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