This year, the sophomore honors society, Lambda Sigma, has been making changes to promote stronger traditions and more student awareness of the group on campus.
Lambda Sigma is the sophomore honors society here at Lawrence and currently has 25 members. The selection process for members begins around Spring Term each year when freshmen who have a grade point average (GPA) within the top 35 percent of their class who show strong leadership qualities receive an email saying they’re eligible for admission. From there, eligible members are interviewed and selected for admission in Spring Term.
The four main “pillars” of Lambda Sigma are fellowship, scholarship, service and leadership. It is a society for sophomores to make connections with each other, to socialize and to provide service to the Appleton community and beyond, according to its leaders.
In previous years, Lambda Sigma has not been as widely known as other student organizations on campus, which is why their leadership has been making strides towards wider recognition.
This year’s Lambda Sigma President, sophomore Cindy Kaiser, attributes some of the group’s growth to more documentation, which was an effort pushed by the group’s staff advisor, Rose Wasielewski, associate dean of students and dean of the sophomore class.
“Before this year, we didn’t even know our Instagram password, so Rose has encouraged us to document everything so next year’s students have the resources they need,” said Kaiser.
Wasielewski became the staff advisor for Lambda Sigma two years ago and credits the group’s previous inattention due to lack of stability.
“They didn’t have much of an advisor for a few years, and it seemed like they didn’t know exactly what their goals were,” Wasielewski said. “So, over the last two years, I’ve tried to make it more of an opportunity for students to get involved in service. Last year, we had 17 students, and this year we have 24. I think it’s really due to the students last year getting the word out that it’s an opportunity.”
Initially, the sound of an “honors society” might make some students believe the group is “prestigious,” but Wasielewski says their primary mission at the end of the day is community and service.
“There’s obviously criteria for membership, such as GPA, but the reasons to be involved are having opportunities in service, fundraising, organizing and leadership with like-minded students,” Wasielewski said.
Kaiser furthers this statement by explaining the group’s purpose statement:
“The purpose of this organization shall be to promote the scholarship and leadership of sophomore students and to provide fellowship and support for its members. It shall also provide an opportunity for those leaders to serve the campus and community, especially in aiding the transition of the freshman class.”
One of the challenges of service this year, Wasielewski says, is organizing service events during the pandemic. To overcome this challenge, in the spring, the group decided to write letters as pen-pals to children in the local Boys and Girls Clubs.
“We wrote letters to young kids who were most likely coming from a disadvantaged background, so not only were they struggling with the pandemic and what that meant to their family, but they were now able to have this connection to a college student even though we couldn’t be there in-person,” Wasielewski said.
Despite the challenges, Kaiser encourages involvement.
“I’m very excited for this year,” Kaiser said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group. We have a lot of people who are working really hard in service opportunities and fundraising and documentation. Everyone’s doing a great job … It’s an organization meant to serve and impact the community, so if you’re interested in that, reach out!”