Monday, August 22, 2011

Convention Stories

It takes a village…Beyond Words 2011

Alexandra Reznik
Pi Delta Chapter
Duquesne University
Student Advisor 2011-2012

I was so excited that the Sigma Tau Delta International Conference, Beyond Words 2011, took place in my hometown of Pittsburgh. After growing up in the ‘Burgh, attending undergrad at Chatham University, and deciding to pursue my MA in English Literature at Duquesne University, I am proud to say that I share the same inspirational place as writers August Wilson and Willa Cather. The many communities I have fostered in Pittsburgh have inevitably expanded to an international level with my involvement in Sigma Tau Delta.
Another community at Chatham University that I have been so privileged to be a part of is the Alpha Delta Lambda chapter, of which I was the chapter president for the past two years. The Alpha Delta Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta had a very exciting week at the International English Honor Society Convention for 2011. Over the past year, we assisted the convention chair Dr. Dangelantonio in compiling a list of places to go in Pittsburgh as well as giving other logistical assistance. Also, as a result of the work I have had the opportunity to share with members on Chatham's campus and in the Pittsburgh community, the Alpha Delta Lambda chapter won an Outstanding Chapter Award, with a monetary prize of $350 and an additional $350 in travel reimbursement for the chapter.  Our chapter also won the Service Award, with Sigma Tau Delta donating $200 to our sponsored non-profit, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. Our chapter sponsor, Dr. Lenz , won the Outstanding Sponsor Award for the Eastern Region.  The Eastern Region is the region with the largest number of members  in the international organization of Sigma Tau Delta.  I had the honor of receiving the Sigma Tau Delta Senior Scholarship, and I am so excited to be a Student Advisor for the 2011-2012 term.

While it was phenomenal to make so many great new friends and to network for projects this upcoming year, my emphasis here is to reference this year’s convention theme, “Beyond Words.” Perhaps Lorene Cary and Dave Eggers can most poignantly articulate my favorite moments over the past week. At Lorene Cary’s presentation, Cary asserted that “Emotion is the currency of our writing.” Whether we were writing creative or academic works, personal interests and passions most definitely infused all of the work Alpha Delta Lambda members presented. Mariah Crilley analyzed the representations of deaf boys in nineteenth century literature. She will be pursuing her masters in literature this fall at Duquesne University. I had the opportunity to present about the construction of British identity through voice and music on a panel with impressive colleagues. I will also be attending Duquesne’s graduate school with particular interest in studying the presence of music in literature and how it constructs national identity. Nicole Titler offered a reading of Shylock through a new historicist lens of Jewish representations from the early modern period into today. She still has one more year at Chatham and will be serving as chapter president for 2011-2012 but wants to eventually study English literature and history in graduate school. Brittany Goncar presented poems from her collection “The Distance in Our Veins” and will be continuing to pursue her MFA at Chatham this fall through the accelerated degree.

Lorene Cary’s interest in writing speaks to all other writers: “You gain access to other information if you write deeply enough.” Every presentation at the conference was evidence of that.  On Saturday night after the Red and Black Gala, Dave Eggers discussed his nonprofit 826 National. His organization actively seeks to go beyond words and into political action by tutoring students who need assistance. He further explained that access to knowledge is the greatest democratizing force and simply said that “books have impact.” Alpha Delta Lambda hopes to continue efforts to see material improvement in the Pittsburgh community by working with The Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council in the same way that 826 National is influential in communities. All of the members of our chapter have worked extremely hard to make this year's convention a success and are looking forward to the convention in New Orleans next year to expand our village further.

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