APSU history honor club makes mark, wins 10th straight best chapter award
Painting an “X” on the University spirit rock might be the best way to mark a history club’s 10th straight national best chapter award.
Austin Peay State University’s Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society chapter once again won the Nels A. Cleven Award for Best Chapter of the Year. That’s 10 in a row.
In order to chronicle the achievement, club members painted APSU’s spirit rock, scrawling the “X” alongside Roman numerals I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX.
“Every year we work hard for our community, in academics and for the school,” Jenny Brown, last year’s chapter president, said. “I am very proud of the work this club has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in the future.”
The award is given annually to the national organization’s best chapters in different-sized divisions. The APSU chapter competes with other universities that have 10,001-15,000 students.
“Phi Alpha Theta is such a devoted, hard-working crew that is truly passionate about history and about our community,” Steve Sullivan, current chapter president, said. “We are obviously led by great, dedicated professors who help us strive harder and harder each year to continue the great success we have seen in the last decade.”
APSU history professor Dr. Minoa Uffelman was longtime chapter adviser before passing that role to Dr. Soma Banerjee this year.
“None of this would have been achieved without the support, organization and overall tenacity of Dr. Minoa Uffelman,” Brown said. “She has been the faculty adviser for over a decade, and her passion and knowledge are integral to the group’s success.”
Best chapter awards go to clubs that excel in promoting the mission of the honor society. Chapters must present their activities, including fundraising events and field trips. Phi Alpha Theta has more than 970 chapters.
Brown shared a long list of chapter events over the last year: “We participate in G.H.O.S.T. and AP Days. We adopt for Help an Elf and do food drives for APSU’s food kitchen and book drives for the public library.”
Chapter members also present at history conferences, judge at Tennessee History Day and sponsor Theta-Delta, Austin Peay’s journal of student history papers.
“In the last year, our members have traveled the globe, immersing themselves in history and representing (Phi Alpha Theta) with pride,” Beth Discavage, chapter treasurer, said. “Winning best chapter for 10 years in a row is not the norm, which is a testament to the great things we are doing, and we will continue to work hard to keep our streak going.”
Sullivan added: “They say every streak comes to an end at some point, but we hope to prove them wrong.”