Eckerd’s circle of the leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) celebrated the induction of 22 new student leaders as lifetime members on Feb. 21 in Cobb Gallery.
ODK was founded in 1914 at Washington and Lee University and the Eckerd College circle was chartered in 1983. ODK accepts students who show leadership in scholarship, athletics, campus and community service, social and religious activities, campus government, journalism, mass media and creative and performing arts.
The honor society has 304 circles around the US and accepts students, faculty and alumni as members. According to ODK’s website, the society “honors and develops leaders through scholarships, workshops, career opportunities, leadership resources and a lifelong connection to other members.”
Anne Wetmore, associate dean for student life and Eckerd’s ODK coordinator, led the induction ceremony. Her goals for this semester include finding faculty and staff members who were involved with ODK at other institutions. She also wants to be involved with service on campus and the in St. Petersburg community. Wetmore led the induction ceremony with the assistance of Associate Vice President for Development Tom Schneider, and Director of Advancement Services Karen Roop.
“It was nice to see so many excited students, and I enjoyed sitting at the table getting to know all of them,” Wetmore said.
Junior Isha Joseph, an international business and political science double major, was one of the students inducted. She is the president of the Afro-American Society (AAS), a student leader in the Multicultural Affairs Office, a student ambassador, and led a spring break service trip last year to Nicaragua. These positions have given her insight on what it means to be a leader.
“Being a leader to me means serving others. I have these formal leadership positions, but I feel like throughout freshman and sophomore year without the formal leadership positions I was still serving other people,” Joseph said.
Joseph’s favorite project she has worked on as a leader was 2019’s Black History Month, where AAS put on 16 events in 28 days in collaboration with Palmetto Productions, the Multicultural Affairs office and other Eckerd organizations.
“Black History Month was just a really great time to collaborate with all different kinds of people on campus, and next year when we do Black History Month I want every department to be a part of it,” Joseph said.
Senior Kyla Smith was also inducted into the honor society. Smith is majoring in international relations and global affairs along with Spanish and a minor in Latin American studies, is the vice president of Pi Sigma Alpha and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi. She also tutors for Political Science Research Methods and Spanish, works in the Office for Advancement and Alumni Relations, has over 222 hours of volunteer work and hopes to continue her service with Omicron Delta Kappa.
“My area that I love to volunteer in is migrants and immigrants, so I would love to do something like that with the group,” Smith said.
Smith took her leadership skills to work with migrant farmworker communities like Beth-El Farmworkers. Her favorite project was with Enterprising Latinas for their Youth Listening Project, whose goal was to listen to and understand the views and needs of the youth in the migrant community of Wimauma, Florida.
“I think it's a lot about listening. That’s something that’s huge for me and it's something I’ve developed through a lot of service and through different work,” Smith said. “I think everyone has the capability of being a leader, but it's just really important to listen to what people are saying.”
Joseph and Smith hope to see ODK collaborate with different student organizations and honor societies on campus.
“There are students on campus who are leading their friends, and leading their groups and leading their spheres of influence just as much as I am,” Joseph said. “I would like to see everyone talking about the ways they can be leaders on campus and in the community.”