Initiation of New Members Into Local Chapter of Sigma Zeta

Summary: At the initiation meeting of a chapter, all regular business is ordinarily suspended and the officers of initiation preside. These officers are: Chairperson; Recorder; and Conductor. The Conductor presents the candidates for initiation to the Chairperson, who gives the response of welcome and explains the responsibility of membership. The Recorder explains the symbolism of the key. The Chairperson then presents the certificates. At the conclusion of the initiation, the new members are welcomed by each member of the chapter.

The initiation may be opened and closed with comments that are appropriate to the particular institution.

Chairperson: This meeting will now come to order. It is a pleasure to welcome you, whose achievement in scholarship and interest in the sciences and mathematics has qualified you for membership [name of local chapter] of Sigma Zeta. Sigma Zeta was founded in 1925 at Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois by three members of the science faculty. At first the organization was a local recognition society for Shurtleff science and mathematics students. However interest in the activities of this group spread to other colleges. In 1926 the National Charter of Sigma Zeta was announced and Beta Chapter was installed. The object of this organization is to draw the superior students from all fields of science and mathematics together as a unified group for a greater exchange of ideas in order to promote the advancement of scientific knowledge. It is our belief that you, as candidates for active membership in [name of local chapter], will successfully carry out the objectives of the society.

Initiation Of New Faculty Members (skip to the student section if no faculty are being initiated).

Chairperson: Mr./Ms. Conductor, please present the faculty to be initiated.

Conductor: (calls names and asks that they come to the front)

Chairperson: [Adjust as necessary depending on the number and discipline represented] It is a pleasure to welcome you who represent the various fields of science and mathematics. As faculty members, you are the leaders in science and mathematics at [name of institution] and upon you rests a great portion of the responsibility for making sure that the ideals of Sigma Zeta are realized here. These ideals include the encouragement of sound scholarship and the recognition of those students who, by following your instructions and counsel, excel in their pursuit of science and/or mathematics. As teaching members of [name of local chapter] of Sigma Zeta, you will be charged with the responsibility of fostering in every way possible the goals and ideals of Sigma Zeta.

Recorder: The key with the letters, books and retort in relief on the background of the open book, carries much symbolism of the society to student members. To you, as sponsors of these students, may it serve not only as an emblem of membership, but also as a symbol of your commitment to the ideals of the society.

Chairperson: I welcome you as members of the [name of local chapter] of Sigma Zeta and charge you with the responsibility of promoting the goals and ideals of the national organization of Sigma Zeta. In recognition of your membership in Sigma Zeta, I present you with a membership certificate.

Initiation Of Student Members:

Chairperson: Mr./Ms. Conductor, will you now present the student candidates.

Conductor: Mr./Ms. Chairperson, and members of the [name of local chapter] of Sigma Zeta, it is an honor to present the following candidates for initiation as active members of our chapter. [calls names and asks that they come to the front]

Chairperson: It is a pleasure to welcome you. Your achievements in scholarship and interest in the sciences make you eligible for membership in this chapter.

Our society has two major purposes -- first, the encouragement of scholarship in the sciences and mathematics and second, the recognition of those students who have excelled in scholarly achievement. As active members of the society, you will be expected to work toward the fulfillment of these aims.

Recorder: Before you are presented with the symbols of your membership, I would call your attention to the symbols which appear on the key.

The key itself symbolizes your opportunity to unlock the doors that lead to "scientific understanding." The form of the key seems to suggest the open book of nature, the source of all scientific learning. A book is open to indicate that knowledge is not closed to anyone who diligently seeks it.

The closed books represent accumulated scientific knowledge, to be studied as a record of the past and as a guide to the future. The three volumes standing together illustrate the division of science into the life sciences, the earth sciences, and the physicalsciences. The fourth volume, supporting the others, is symbolic of mathematics, the foundation and basis of science.

The retort and tripod are symbols of an ancient process by which pure substances were separated from their impurities. To us, they typify the experimental methods in our various fields. The flame used to heat the retort represents the motivating forces of science that direct and inspire scientific achievement.

Also, the books and retort stand for two great sources of scientific advancement -- first, a study and knowledge of human accomplishments up to this time; and second, further experimentation which will lead to new advances in scientific understanding.

The Greek letters, Sigma and Zeta, designate both the Society and its motto: "SEEK DILIGENTLY TOGETHER FOR TRUTH."

Chairperson: As recognition of your membership, I present you with a membership or certificate. You are now entitled to wear the key and to all the privileges of active membership in the Society.

This ends the formal initiation ceremony.