Students Inducting Students: The Sub-Culture of an Honor Society

By Lisa Veliz, SW Regional VP

[Executive Director’s note: Chapter induction ceremonies can range from a very formal event (e.g., faculty advisors wearing their academic regalia and the inductees in formal attire) to something as simple as a pizza party. But as Liza Veliz points out in her article, the induction represents much more than passing certificates out to new Psi Beta members. It can be an event in which peers bring new members into the chapter’s unique culture. This is especially true if current members play a central part in conducting the ceremony.]

The South Texas College Psi Beta Chapter is holding their induction ceremony differently this year. Since the charter was first established in 2011, faculty advisors have always taken the initiative to organize and induct new members. For the first time, current Psi Beta members will be inducting new members, and a sort of “rite of passage” ritual, as one student describes, is being shared among students. This culture of honor students acts very much like any other culture. There are traditions, values, practices, and beliefs surrounding the induction into the honor society that create a feeling of culture. Current Psi Beta members often speak to new inductees of the value surrounding their participation in Psi Beta and how it has enriched their academic and personal life. They share with one another their experiences of making new life-long friends, traveling to and presenting at conferences together, and sharing common academic and professional goals in psychology. They teach inductees about how to make the most of their experience in Psi Beta. The belief that psychology unites them helps foster their new bonds. Students are not only inducting other students, they are mentoring inductees and transmitting that culture of honor societies such as Psi Beta. Therefore, the induction ceremony is not just an event in which a student is presented with a certificate and pin, but rather it is a “rite of passage” into a sub-culture of students sharing the same passion. For current members, inducting new members validates their efforts and achievements and for new inductees it affords the opportunity to be a part of an honorable culture, not just another student organization. We should all take great pride and joy each time we introduce a new student to our culture!




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