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The Department of Geology/Geography at Eastern Illinois University is fortunate to have associated with it four clubs or organizations in which students and faculty can interact in a setting outside of the regular classroom. Two of these organizations, Gamma Theta Upsilon and Sigma Gamma Epsilon, are national honor societies for different areas of the geographic and geologic sciences. The third organization, the Geoscience Club is open to all university members who are interested in the Earth Sciences. The Geography Club is also open to all university members who are interested in Geography.

Geoscience Club

The Geoscience Club is an informal club run by geology and geography majors and sponsors the Introductory Earth Science Fieldtrip each semester. The club also has get togethers and parties throughout the year for special occasions (e.g., Halloween, Thanksgiving Potluck, Christmas, etc.). Members of the club also act as tutors for any geology or geography students, either in the introductory level courses and even in upper division courses.

Gamma Theta Upsilon, GTU (Geography Honor Society)

GTU has maintained activities to enhance the academic and social life of students in our department. After chartering Rho Chapter at EIU in 1940, 669 students have been initiated into the local chapter. Vince Gutowski, who has served as advisor since 1985, will be sharing advisory duties with Mike Cornebise in 2009-2010.

One of the goals of GTU is to “strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences in addition to those of the classroom and laboratory”. Over the past decade, Rho Chapter has done quite well in offering a number of “casual learning experiences” to our students. Each Spring Break we encourage participation in a field experience to an area where the physical and cultural landscapes are different from the upper Midwest. We have taken several camping trips to the northern and southern Appalachians where students have engaged in whitewater rafting experiences, visited Grand Isle on the Gulf Coast, where students learned about the Mississippi River Delta (and the French Quarter), and this past year we examined the volcanic landscapes of northern New Mexico along the Rio Grande River gorge, the Valles Caldera National Preserve, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.

Another goal of GTU is “to encourage student research of high quality”. In the time since 2002, Rho Chapter has been able to fund 22 student research projects, with stipends of $300 to $500 each. Most of these students have been able to polish their projects and present them at a variety of professional Geography meetings. Rho Chapter has encouraged student participation at the Annual Meeting of the West Lakes Division of the AAG and will pay the transportation, registration and lodging expenses for the students. This year, 2009, we will travel to St. Paul, MN in late October for the meeting. Another popular venue for student research is the Annual Meeting of the Illinois Geographical Society; Mike Cornebise is very active in the organization and currently serves as Editor of the Bulletin of the IGS.

At the end of each semester, Rho Chapter sponsors the “Last Supper” dinner, where we meet at a local restaurant (Fall semester) or we cook out (Spring semester), and all say “Grace”, in honor of our benefactor, Grace Markwell Meier, who so graciously [pun] created an endowment for the benefit of Geography students, administered by the Advisor of Rho Chapter GTU, and another endowment that promotes faculty research, The Rose Zeller Award for Excellence in Geographic Research. We thank you, Grace, for your generosity, which will benefit many future generations of Geography students and Geography faculty.

Sigma Gamma Epsilon, SGE (Earth Science Honor Society)

Sigma Gamma Epsilon is a national honor society for earth scientists. Founded in 1915, SGE promotes the scholastic, scientific, and professional advancement of its members and the extension of relations of friendship and assistance among colleges and universities which are devoted to the advancement of the Earth Sciences. The current headquarters of SGE are located at the University of Northern Iowa.

Geography Club

Information coming soon!