Chapter News

The Epsilon Theta Chapter (Northwest Missouri State University) celebrated its 30th Anniversary on February 21, 2014 with a meet-and-greet for alumni, students and faculty in the Garrett-Strong Science Building. Attendees then adjourned to a local establishment for appetizers and a social. A brunch event also took place February 22nd at The Station.

Seventeen members of Eta Gamma (Weber State University) coordinated and participated in a CPR Certification project on December 1, 2013.  During a recent event at the University of Utah, it was reported that a senior faculty member was catastrophically struck down during a class lecture by a massive heart attack. In that class were two students who were certified in CPR. These two students successfully performed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation thus saving the professor’s life. It was with great purpose and inspiration from this story that members of Eta Gamma created the Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / First Aid Certification Project.

The chapter set a goal to certify all departmental faculties, SGE members, and Geology Club members by the conclusion of the second week of December, 2013. Twenty six of the possible 28 individuals of are now currently Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / First Aid Certified resulting in a 93% overall success rate complimented with a 100% success rate for Eta Gamma Chapter.  A total of 34 individuals were certified (8 faculty, 17 SGE members and 9 non members).

The members of Eta Gamma believe this project is valuable to the school, community and themselves.  This project benefited their school by placing individuals certified in CPR and first aid on annual field trips.   While a certification cannot unequivocally ensure the safety or successful resuscitation of an injured person, the likelihood would be greatly enhanced.  In the community members are trained to respond to non-school related activities like car crashes and bike accidents.  The students also noted they live in a region prone to natural disasters and would be better able to assist should a disaster occur.  Lastly the members noted that having their certification may assist in searching for employment as many places require or prefer current CPR certification.

Epsilon Delta (Texas Christian University) was very active this past fall.  They coordinated two camping field trips to Turner Falls and Caddo Lake for SGE members and TCU students.  The chapter also sponsored a weekly video lecture series highlighting various earth science topics such as “The Grand Canyon” which were open to all TCU students and faculty.  Additionally, they hosted several professional lectures such as Dr. Bryer’s “Large Scale Gas Plays” and Dr. Mayne’s “They Come from Space” talks.  In November to promote earth science education, members coordinated a booth to talk about hard rocks and helped host a Star Party to explore constellations.  During December, the members raised money for breast cancer awareness by assisting with the “penny for a cause” drive and hosting a canned food drive. Next semester, Eta Gamma plans on hosting two camping trips and a fossil hunting field trip in addition to continuing with their video lecture series and professional talks.

2012-2013 Chapter Service Projects

Epsilon Eta (Radford University) members had a total of 1150 service hours, earning them the honor of being the first SGE Chapter to be recognized with the new SGE Chapter Service Award!

Eight members of Epsilon Eta donated 128 hours each to conduct 15 Day-of-Science programs for a total of 1024 service hours!  The 15 Day-of-Science programs were conducted from 9/13/12 through 3/21/2013.  Up to 150 K-12 students participated in each of the 15 Day-of-Science programs.  The large group was divided into smaller groups and each member took responsibility for their assigned group and led them from activity to activity according to the predetermined schedule.  Members also interacted with the students as role models, participated in many of the demonstrations and experiences, and generally attempted to build interest and excitement about science. 

Day of Science

Jacey Allen, a graduating senior, volunteering at a  Day-of-Science Program.

Epsilon Eta believes supporting the Radford University Science Days is supporting outreach science education in the historically underserved region of southwest Virginia.  Since September, 2012, over 2100 K-12 public and private school students have visited Radford University to participate in a “Day of Science”.  This includes experiencing demonstrations and exposure to Astronomy (RU Planetarium), Earth Science (RU Museum of the Earth Sciences), Botany (RU Greenhouse), Physics (Physics “Magic Show”), Chemistry (Chemistry “Magic Show”), and Anthropology (hands-on demonstration of interpreting bones).  Radford University is in the forefront of science education outreach, and Epsilon Eta Chapter is proud to be supporting and assisting in this activity.

Another project in which 5 members donated 6 hours each to was assisting 125 middle and high school students competing in the annual regional science fair.  Members helped to organize the students, sent them for interviews at the appropriate time, fed them, and otherwise served as positive role models as college students and as scientists-in-training. Supporting the regional science fair supports the nurturing of young scientists in the middle-schools and high schools.

chasing Ice Poster

Melissa Brett, newly elected 2013-2014 President of Epsilon Eta Chapter, acquired the film, secured university support for the venture, scheduled the showings, advertised the event, and actually showed the film at each showing.

Epsilon Eta also hosted earth science-related outreach events for both the university and public communities such as the screening of “Chasing Ice”, a cinematic exploration of the diminishing arctic environment.  Members purchased the film “Chasing Ice” which is an award-winning movie about global warming and showed it on campus for free for three nights to anyone who wished to see it.  Over 500 patrons attended the showings.

Epsilon Eta Chapter members are fortunate to have a retired master gemcutter as a community volunteer at the Radford University Museum of the Earth Sciences.  Mr. Harry Troutt taught SGE members how to create lapidary art (both cabochons and faceted stones), present their work in appropriate mountings and settings, and market their products.  The chapter purchased raw materials and 12 members performed 96 hours of labor.  The products are sold within the museum, local boutiques, and on-campus during homecoming and parents’ weekends.  Eighty percent of the profits are donated to the Museum. 

The members believe this is important because the Radford University Museum of the Earth Sciences relies solely on donations for its development and outreach activities.  Epsilon Eta Chapter is proud to furnish financial support to the Museum and to date, Epsilon Eta Chapter has been able to donate in excess of $300 to the Museum.

Epsilon Theta (Northwest Missouri State University) is the second chapter to receive the SGE Chapter Service Award!  Thirty members completed a total of 516 service hours.  The Afghanistan Cookie Drive was a joint activity with Girl Scout Troop #8307.  Members of the Epsilon Theta Chapter volunteered at a popcorn and snacks booth at the Nodaway County Fair.  Proceeds went to cover the cost of shipping 187 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to members of the 129th Field Artillery Battalion currently serving in Iraq.  Girl Scout Science Saturday was also co-sponsored with Troop #8307.  This activity provided Girl Scouts from the Northwest Missouri Service Region the opportunity to earn badges in Home Science, the Water Cycle, Paleontology, Mineralogy, Petrology, and Entomology.  Girls who participated were asked to bring a can of food for donation to Second Harvest Food Bank in St. Joseph, Missouri.  A total of 87 girls from 20 different troops earned 119 badges.  The event brought in 200 pounds of food for the Food Bank.

Members of Epsilon Theta believe both the Cookie Drive and Science Saturday are crucial for the long-term health and well-being of members of the Epsilon Theta Chapter, the University and larger Maryville community, and the participants themselves.  The 129th Field Artillery Battalion is based in Maryville.  Many of those who are serving are their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers.  Their support is critical for them and their families.  Numerous studies show that girls tend to lose interest in science between the ages of 10 and 14.  Activities like Science Saturday have been shown to reinforce the importance of science to young women.  Recruiting and retaining talented women is critical to the future of geology and other sciences.

Eta Gamma (Weber State University) members conducted four different service projects, completing an impressive number of service hours.  Part of Eta Gamma’s mission is to provide their members with a variety of well-rounded and diverse opportunities for involvement.  Their projects ranged from academic, educational community outreach, and campus-wide volunteer services.  The various service projects completed provide benefits for Weber State University, students, and our greater community. 

Three Members of the Eta Gamma chapter volunteered in various elementary and secondary teaching and educational efforts for a total of 75 service hours.  From independent teaching efforts and science fair judging to field trips organized through the Center for Science and Math Education department, students were responsible for creating lessons and developing demonstrations or activities reflecting topics within the earth science field.  Resources were provided by Weber State University’s Geoscience Department to help exhibit various concepts.  Topics included fossils, the water cycle, weather, and rock and mineral identification.  Students also participated in UGS’s Earth Day program at the Core Library which benefits young school children within the community.

This benefits not only the local schools, but geology majors, particularly earth science teaching majors.  It affords teaching majors the opportunity to prepare, organize and implement lesson plans within their subject prior to student teaching.  It gives geology majors a chance to share their knowledge and educational resources.  It also greatly benefits teachers and students within the local community that do not have access to a wide variety of teaching materials by helping to enable science learning to be engaging and applicable.

Seven Eta Gamma members spent 26 hours coordinating booths to show school pride and recruit students to the Geoscience Department.  They also supported two educational lectures that focused on ‘Wildfires in Utah and Climate Change’ as well as the ‘Mineraology of the Great Salt Lake’. 

The promotional booths help to encourage new students to explore geosciences as an optional career choice, while the public booths help to promote earth science education within the community.  The lecture series is designed to promote academic excellence by increasing the educational resources within the geoscience department.  

Science Saturdays is a program developed by CSME, Center for Science and Math Education, to provide hands-on, engaging science activities and demonstrations at no cost to children within the community.  This event takes place on the second Saturday of each month and is well attended by all ages, but is specifically geared to children in elementary school.  Each month, members of Eta Gamma chapter, chose an earth science related topic and presented it.  In 2012 the topics explored were oceans, clouds, sun dials, and tectonics. Eight members contributed a total of 51 hours to this service project.

Members believe this is a huge benefit to their community and school.  Not only does it provide earth science teaching majors with the opportunity to develop and organize lesson plans, it also gives children in the community a chance to explore the nature of science in fun and interactive ways while encouraging them to think critically and engage in investigations.  This program provides children an insight into the realities of science in relatable and understandable way. 

Three members of the Eta Gamma chapter teamed up with Weber Pathways, a local trail organization, to create “Yikes! Science Hikes” which are student-led instructional hikes designed to educate the community about the local science around them.   This year they took the initiative to expand the hikes to include the other science departments within the College of Science.  The topics of the hikes ranged from geology to botany, physiology, microbiology, and physics for children.  A total of 18 service hours was accumulated.

This has proven to be a great benefit to all in the community.  Student-led hikes also provide students with the opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences within the geosciences field with the public. 

Another chapter with a remarkable service record is Eta (Missouri
University of Science and Technology).  The members of Eta dedicate a day to instructing 8th grade girls from neighboring school districts in geosciences through two distinct activities.  Eighteen members dedicated 90 hours providing students with this event.  The first activity is known as “Rip, Tear, Crunch,” and constitutes a sandbox model demonstration where the girls obtain hands-on experience at applying either simple compression or extension on the sandbox to model orogenic events or continental rifting, respectively.  The second, which attracts far more attention, is the “Trashcano” simulation, where an industrial strength plastic trash bin is filled with water (magma) and plastic balls and toys (pyroclastic debris).  Liquid nitrogen is poured into a 2 liter bottle, capped, and quickly placed within the trash bin to simulate the eruptive force which expels the debris and water high into the air.

This project demonstrated the more exciting aspects of science to grade school girls who would otherwise have had little to no experience or knowledge of science outside of the classroom.  Combined with the lectures which are given prior to either event, the girls obtain both a theoretical background knowledge of tectonism (sandbox models) and volcanism (‘trashcano’) corresponding with the practical demonstrations given.  Members serve to strengthen the community interest in their university as well as in careers in scientific fields, and especially introduce young girls to higher education in Geology and Geophysics.

Sixteen members of Eta Chapter contributed 112 hours planning and implementing a day to help local Boy Scouts meet the requirements for a merit badge in geology. The day began with a tour of the M S&T Mine and an explosives demonstration. Then the scouts were brought to a classroom where members introduced the principles of geology, showed fossils and talked about careers in Economic Geology, Geological Engineering, Geology in Government and Planetary Geology.  Afterwards members instructed the scouts on the rock cycle, mineral properties, mineral identification and reading geological maps. The day concluded with short presentations for road building materials, examples of locally mined minerals and their applications to the economy.

This project served to instruct the youth of the community in concepts (such as economic geology and mineral identification) that are not widely taught in school and pique their interests in earth sciences. The chapter received a great deal of praise from the troop leaders concerning their ability to keep the youths’ interest and provide valuable lessons for their merit badge acquisition.  The day is always fully booked. This event benefits their university by drawing attention to the activities of the department and inviting the school and community newspaper to write about the event.

Two members attend the Sullivan Middle School Science Professional Night annually in order to speak to grade school children about careers in scientific fields and promote higher education.  Generally, the chapter sends members from multiple geosciences disciplines, including Geology & Geophysics, Geological Engineering, Petroleum Engineering, and Mining Engineering.  The volunteers often dress as though they are working in the field in order to more accurately represent their field, and usually bring items (Brunton compass, rock hammer, seismic equipment) to display at our booth and pique curiosity.

The organizer of the Science Professional Night consistently expresses the value of Eta’s participation in the SPN, as their presence is of great importance to students who either do not understand the role of a geoscientist or who wish to learn more about it.  The rate of science classes which students voluntarily sign up for is directly linked to the performance of the members who attend.  This year was significantly successful with the outcome being the introduction of a new sophomore honor Physical Science course as a result of the magnitude of intrigued youths.  Sullivan is a small, rural town wherein many residents are generally unaware of the benefits of a career in science, so this project is greatly effective in this respect.

Six members of Eta Epsilon (Southern Utah University) completed a total of 24 hours of service. The student chapter members met with the 4th grade science teachers at a local elementary school.  The teachers asked for a rock review for their students before taking the state test.  They organized 4 stations: sedimentary rocks and soil, igneous rocks, metamorphic rocks, and fossils, and focused the information included with the state standards.  Approximately 50 children cycled through the stations.

Eta Epsilon believes the rock review will benefit the students of the elementary school by giving them a hands-on review of geology and will lead to better test scores. 

Fifteen members of Eta Rho (State University of New York at Geneseo) spent 30 hours marking the storm drains in their community with bright blue labels that said ‘No dumping, Drains to river’. Their goal was to promote environment health by keeping the waterways clean by making the community aware that what they put down the storm drains goes straight into the nearby Genesee River.

Seven Eta Tau (University of Dayton) members and 8 volunteers participated in Techfest 2013 at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH.  Here members had a geology themed exhibit where they educated students about fossils, rocks, and conducted a volcano demonstration.

Three Gamma Sigma (University of Northern Iowa) members taught middle school students who had come to the UNI campus for STEM Day about the earth sciences through fossil and volcano activities. This project introduced the students to the earth sciences in a fun and interesting manner.

This year ten members of Alpha Chi (University of Alabama) Chapter joined with the Geography club in collaboration with the Tuscaloosa Water management to host a Lake Tuscaloosa cleanup.  The North River Watershed is the direct source of water for the greater Tuscaloosa area. Each year trash gets dumped or deposited into the river during times of high rainfall.  This project directly impacted the community of Tuscaloosa in helping clean up the pollution and trash from their source of drinking water. The Chapter believes that the clean water is not only important for drinking but for recreation and fun as well.  The cleanup provides a sense of ownership and promotes a brighter future for the local environment. Members donated a total of forty hours.

Gamma Chi’s (Eastern Illinois University) Geology and Geography Department has an annual colloquium series in which it brings speakers to campus to give earth-related talks that are of interest to students, faculty and the general public (Sept. 28th – Colonel Robert Sinkler (’83), “”Solving the Nation’s Toughest Geology and Geography Problems;” March 22nd – Dr. John Hudson, “The World’s Wheat Crop: Who Produces It, Who Consumes It;” and an on-campus screening of “Chasing Ice”).   Gamma Chi applied for on-campus funding to pay for refreshments to host the guests ($500/year) and then purchased, set up the food and drinks for each event.

The speakers enrich the school and community by presenting information on a variety of topics intended to provoke the imagination and enlighten the listeners.  Speakers this past academic year included an alumnus who was heavily involved in the rebuilding of New Orleans’s levees after Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, a geographer who researched the wheat industry and a screening and subsequent panel discussion on climate change and the evidence captured in the movie, “Chasing Ice.”  The refreshments provided by Gamma Chi enabled the department to have pre-talk receptions that engendered discussions among faculty, students, speakers and the general public.  The food and drink also helps to attract students to talks as well. Five members volunteered a total of 6 hours.

Eleven students donated 28 hours to Operation Gratitude, which is an organization that gathers items for the military and makes care packages for them.  As part of the project, members decided to make paracord bracelets, which are lengths of parachute cord made into snap on bracelets that the individual can use in an emergency situation.  The cord is 8 feet in length when disassembled and can be used to make a fishing line, tourniquets, tie downs, and a variety of other things. 

This project benefited the national community by providing our military with an emergency survival tool that could save their and/or others’ lives.  This also benefited our local SGE chapter in that we invited students in our department who were not SGE members to participate so that we could show them what SGE is like and how they could be involved.  This project benefited the military personnel and served as a fun recruitment tool. 

Gamma Chi’s campus is situated fairly close to a very nice lake that is a regional playground for fisherpeople, kayakers, picnickers, etc.  It, as most public facilities, accumulates a lot of trash with careless usage.  The city has limited resources and cannot clean the areas surrounding the lake continuously.  Gamma Chi Chapter organized a lake cleanup, enlisting the help of volunteers from across campus – other dept clubs, honors societies, fraternities, sororities and the general public.  They used chapter funds to provide food and drinks afterwards to reward the participants.  Approximately 25 people (6 of which were members) joined the cleanup, picking up 35 bags of garbage, a mattress, box spring and two car tires.  They stripped out recyclables for reclamation and ended up with 4 bags.  As a result of this community project, Gamma Chi was interviewed by local newspapers and ended up being featured on the front covers of both, giving great press to not only the event, but to Sigma Gamma Epsilon as well.  Members are pleased to have helped make this a nicer looking and more healthy community recreational area.