Monday September 27, marked a milestone at Southeastern as 10 students were inducted into the university’s premiere chapter of Delta Alpha Pi; a new honor society to help promote, encourage and honor the academic achievement of students with disabilities.
The group allows members the opportunity to celebrate their achievement with peers who may have struggled through some of the same issues, as well as allow them as a group the opportunity to give back to the community.
“It’s nice because we can relate to each other, we can relate to each other’s experiences,” said Nicole Couper, a junior majoring in elementary education and the recruitment chair for Theta Phi Alpha sorority. “People don’t realize we live a normal life, we just have to go about some things in a different way.”
At the induction, the students were presented with their membership pins and took the induction pledge. The newly inducted members were then greeted with encouraging words from Jeff Day, owner of Spoga Fitness Center.
“For whatever reason, every single person has a disability, whether it is being shy, anxious, a fear, or even stress, we forget everyone has one and that requires us all to work together to get through,” said Day.
This is the first semester that Delta Alpha Pi has been available to the students at Southeastern. Perspective members were sent letters of invitation at the beginning of the semester and from there the group has grown.
Students wishing to participate must have completed a minimum of 24 credit hours and attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.10 (on a 4.0 scale). Graduate students must have completed a minimum of 18 credits and earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.30.
“All of the students involved are very strong academically and are very involved in the school community,” said Kay Maurin, director of Disability Services.
The organization aims to promote students with high academic achievement who continue to excel, as well as desire to give back to the community.
“I am so excited for them,” said Joy Brown, graduate assistant at the Office for Disability Services. “Most people want to hide their disability, this group is great because it lets the members say ‘hey, I have this but I’m still human, I’m still a student, I am still doing well.’ I hope it helps educate the community and makes the students feel more comfortable.”
“In school I never wanted to admit it,” said senior history major Opal Guillory, Miss Southeastern contestant, and Special Olympics coach. “Now I have a high GPA and will have graduated collage after four years. It just goes to show that if you have a disability you can still do a lot in life.”
For more information on Delta Alpha Pi you can visit the Office of Disability Services on campus, or contact the office at (985) 549-2247.