Omnicron Delta Kappa honors student achievement

To become a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a student group recently reactivated on campus, “is a distinct achievement,” says its adviser.

ODK was formed at Washington and Lee University by 15 students and faculty leaders, said Betty Mulkey, adviser for the Northern Kentucky University chapter.

“The purpose of the NKU circle of ODK is to recognize the contributions of our student leaders,” Mulkey said.

According to Chris Vaught, ODK president at Northern Kentucky University, the organization is a national leadership honor society recognizing over 200,000 men and women from more than 250 colleges and universities as members of ODK. “It recognizes and encourages those students who have achieved success in one or more of the following areas: scholarship, athletics, journalism, speech, mass media, creative and performing arts, campus/community service, social and religious activities, and campus government,” said Vaught. “Membership in Omicron Delta Kappa is a mark of highest distinction and honor and is recognized by academic and business leaders.”

“We have so many students leading various efforts across the campus and ODK provides a vehicle for them to be publicly recognized for those achievements,” Mulkey said. “The membership comes from all walks of life on campus. Bringing these students together, many of whom had not met before their induction into ODK, creates a leadership organization that brings varied student perspectives together.”

Vaught, being ODK president, is currently the only officer of the organization. However, nominations have been made for vice president, secretary and treasurer. Elections took place on Nov. 30.

Membership requirements include being a junior or senior, having a 3.25 GPA and being involved on campus.

“Twenty-eight new members were inducted this semester and 20 members were inducted last April,” said Vaught. “We inducted Dr. Votruba as an honorary member.”

Leigh Ann Schroeder, past lecture committee chair for ODK, has been a member of ODK since last semester, when she says the “circle was reactivated on the NKU campus.”

“It hasn’t been the smoothest semester because 75 percent of the people who joined in the spring graduated in May, before we really started any programs or planning,” explained Schroeder. “That left us with about five active members willing to give of their time.”

During the “reactivation” semester the group’s major focus was coordinating one event to get ODK’s name publicized and to raise funds, Schroeder said. ODK’s first program was the “Last Lecture Series,” which featured advisors and faculty members on campus giving speeches. According to Schroeder, the idea was for the speakers to present as if the opportunity were a chance to give their “final” speech. Dr. Votruba gave the first speech, called “What Constitutes the Good Life.”

“He gave examples of what he felt a person should do to live life fully,” said Schroeder. “It was excellent.”

Feeling that the first program was a success, ODK has decided to present the “Last Lecture Series” every semester. “It will be what ODK is most noted for,” said Schroeder.

Vaught said ODK is planning a Murder Mystery Dinner, which will be open to campus members to help raise funds. “Currently, we are planning on the scripting being done by members of ODK and actors being NKU students,” said Vaught.

A council of honor societies that would consist of representatives of different honors organizations is also planned for next semester. Mulkey said several ODK students are also involved with other honor societies, which all serve as a “unique form of recognition.”

“The council of honor societies will be a group that brings together all the honor societies on campus and helps increase their membership, sponsorship of activities and awareness of their group on campus,” Vaught said.

Mulkey said she could imagine CHS coordinating a program on topical issues with each of the different honor societies bringing their perspectives to attention. In the spring, ODK will approach the societies and their advisors across campus. “I hope they will find some value in participating in the council,” Mulkey said.