Students Reestablish Honor Society of Education at Pitt

by Marissa Calligan

Kappa Delta Pi welcoming its new members at the Spring 2016 Initiation.

April 19, 2015, is a date that will stick out in the minds of anyone involved in the planning of Pitt’s Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. April 19th is the day the chapter was reinstalled at the University of Pittsburgh, and the day 17 ADP CASE degree program students took a pledge to make a difference at Pitt, the day the organization became part of the greater community. CASE is a five-year program that allows students to receive a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) degree in applied developmental psychology and a master’s of education (MEd) degree in Instruction and Learning.

Kappa Delta Pi, or KDP, is an international honor society for those in the field of education. The mission at large, and true to our Omicron Phi chapter at Pitt, is to advance quality education by inspiring teachers to prepare all learners for future challenges. It provides opportunities for those in the field along with advancement and scholarship as Kappa Delta Pi Headquarters promotes the very thing all of their members have a passion for: teaching.

KDP members at the Blue Star Red Carpet Awards, where the organization won “New Student Organization of the Year."

At the end of the fall 2014 semester, a group of girls sat and talked about the lack of education major-related organizations on campus. They got to “Googling” and came across KDP, which they took as a solution to the problem. A list of goals and expectations were made, from wanting t-shirts and volunteer opportunities, to the greater idea at hand of uniting those in education. The group text was started among the girls, e-mails flew back and forth between the School of Education and headquarters in Indiana, and somehow it all came together the day before finals week in spring 2015.

In the organization’s first year on campus, its three committees took lead in all that KDP accomplished, along with the executive board, comprised of Marissa Calligan (president), Sarah Fullerton (vice president), Kerry Critelli (secretary), and Kelly Reed (treasurer) but also with the help of their advisor, School of Education Clinical Assistant Professor Anna Arlotta-Guerrero.

The membership committee, headed by Jessica Muradov, planned all initiations and membership bonding events, from things like nights at Phipps Conservatory and iceskating in Schenley Park. Led by Nicole Berardinelli, the fundraising committee hosted numerous bake sales and opportunities to purchase School of Education merchandise. Abby Bouslough guided the programming committee as they planned over 40 service opportunities and the group’s Literacy Alive! program.

Students enjoying books from the Literacy Alive! book drive.

The group’s success would not have been possible without the dedicated leaders they had present, not only with the beginning stages of starting a new organization on campus, but running it in its first year. They helped shape KDP into what it is and have provided insight into what it can be next year’s positions have been elected.

The signature event of KDP is the Literacy Alive! initiative. Each chapter is encouraged to hold a program that promotes excellency in literacy in the community. All efforts of the group were directed towards this cause as it took front seat in everything they did most notably. The Omicron Phi chapter is one of the very few chapters in the local area and this fact guided their Literacy Alive! theme as they utilized the city around them in their event Booksburgh: Making Readers of Steel.

The group ventured up to Falk Laboratory School for two days as they read and spoke in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms about having pride in one’s city and school. In addition, a book drive was held across the campus at large to distribute to local school and classroom libraries in the city. Thanks to the generosity and help of others, a total of 2,764 books were collected as “readers of steel” were made.

KDP members at Falk Laboratory School for the Literacy Alive! event, Booksburgh: Making Readers of Steel.

Kappa Delta Pi ended the year out strong as they completed their third initiation, bringing their total to 43 members embracing the values and ideals set forward by the society. At the annual Blue Star Red Carpet Awards hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Division of Student Affairs, the organization received the honor of “New Student Organization of the Year.” This group goes to show that even in a school of thousands, one group can make their mark, and this is just the beginning for them.

MARISSA CALLIGAN is a master’s student at the School of Education and president of Kappa Delta Pi. She was also selected as one of the 12 honored recipients of the 2015-2016 Distinguished Chapter Officer Award presented by Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education. There are 3,000 active officers annually.