For the past two years, the ULM chapter has organized the Common Reader Ouachita Parish Writing Contest, which invites high school students from local parish, city, and private schools, to write an essay, story, or poem of five pages or less in response to excerpts from the annual Sigma Tau Delta common reader selection.
Beta Zeta chapter members run the contest by sending out excerpts to all high schools in the area, raising money for prizes, judging each entry, and hosting the awards ceremony.
This year, the chapter won the Sigma Tau Delta 2013 Project Grant Award, which encourages local chapters to
be innovative in developing projects that further the goals of the Society. Beta Zeta’s writing contest was awarded because of its focus on Sigma Tau Delta’s mission of fostering literature, language, and writing.
As the winner of the award, the chapter will receive over $450 for the project, plus a $350 travel reimbursement if a representative shares the project at the next convention.
Last year, the Beta Zeta chapter received the Sigma Tau Delta Regents Common Reader Award of $100 for the organizing the writing contest.
Beta Zeta chapter faculty sponsor, Dr. Jana Giles said, "I am extremely proud of our student members for their achievements this year and in years past."
"Our executive officers have worked tirelessly and under a great deal of pressure from their other obligations as graduate students and teaching assistants or full-time workers, and in some cases even as parents, to make the Common Reader Ouachita Parish Writing Contest a success for the second year running."
"They have raised the bar further this year in winning the Project Grant Award, and sending members to the annual convention for the third year in a row, thus demonstrating the excellence our ULM students are fully capable of reaching."
The Project Grant Award will be announced at the annual convention in Savannah, Ga., later this month. Three of the chapter’s members will be present to receive the award: President Alycia Hodges, Vice President Valerie Upshaw, and Treasurer Adam Breitenbach.
Each member has also been accepted to present their original work at the convention. Hodges will present a collection of original poetry titled “Politic: The Construction of Me,” which not only charts her evolution as a person, but her growth from artistic voicelessness to a place of articulation and self-identity.
Breitenbach will present an original academic paper titled “The Monkey Wrench Gang and Radical Environmentalism,” which explores the roots of the radical environmentalist movement as inspired by Edward Abbey’s 1975 novel “The Monkey Wrench Gang.”
Upshaw will present “Beowulf's Saintly Veneration,” a paper which explores the reconciliation of a pagan Germanic past with the newer Christian ideals that were prevalent in Anglo-Saxon England.
This is the third year in a row in which students from the Beta Zeta chapter have been accepted to present at the convention. In total, ULM has sent nine students to the convention in the past three years.