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Published on February 18, 2021

Eastern Connecticut State University Shows a Hybrid Induction Model Works

In the age of COVID, developing in person programming has not been easy on many campuses. Professor Martin Mendoza-Botelho, faculty advisor for the Alpha Beta Gamma chapter at Eastern Connecticut State University, felt it was time to give something a shot.  After the pandemic postponed their spring induction event he was driven to develop something in the fall. "Membership in Pi Sigma Alpha is a nice reward to motivated students; we wanted to do something special and as 'normal' as possible." With approval from the Provost and support from his colleagues, the chapter gathered on October 29 for a hybrid induction event to mark the chapter's 17th induction class and the Centennial of Pi Sigma Alpha. The event welcomed six students on site and another five joining virtually.

For Mary Greenwell, a senior at Eastern Connecticut State, the event was very special. She noted, "This year has been uniquely challenging, to say the least. A lot of times as students it feels like we’re just getting through week by week especially now with the lack of ability to socialize as usual. Now more than ever it’s so nice to be able to see our accomplishments get recognized beside my professor and peers." For Mary and the other students taking part in the in-person component it was a chance to applaud each other and receive their membership materials with a tradition photograph - even if with a mask.

Pi Sigma Alpha Member Mary Greenwell  
Mary Greenwell proudly shows her Pi Sigma Alpha Certificate.

Also joining the event were former chapter advisor Professor Nicole Krassas, Professor Patrick Vitale, and Dean of Art and Sciences Carmen Cid. In her remarks, Dean Cid highlighted the importance of the study of politics. She observed it does not matter how great a scientific achievement is made, if societies are not willing to accept them, and that is a social and political process. Thus, students of political science carry that responsibility to promote positive social and political change.

For faculty advisor Martin Mendoza-Botelho, it was his first induction event as faculty advisor, and he recognized the importance of in person recognition. "Our university is a public institution and as such attracts students from varied backgrounds, domestically and internationally. While their backgrounds might be different, their passion for knowledge is the same. Therefore it is important for us to recognize their academic merit that ultimately represents their hard work, commitment to the science and their intentions to build a better society. Moreover, Pi Sigma Alpha offers them a unique opportunity to link broadly with likeminded individuals in our country and beyond, in addition to that well-deserved academic distinction."

Pi Sigma Alpha Executive Director Sean Twombly was able to join remotely to help share in the event. After participating in nearly 60 virtual events over the spring and fall, this was the first hybrid induction he had witnessed. "The centennial milestone for Pi Sigma Alpha is a special one. The pandemic has put a damper on so many of our in person celebrations and I was thrilled that Eastern took the leap to try something new. I hope this inspires other chapters to explore the option on their campus, making sure to follow guidelines and consult with campus administrators."

The Alpha Beta Gamma chapter was chartered in 2003 and has inducted more than 150 student members since the founding.
Pi Sigma Alpha Ceremony
Director Sean Twombly with Eastern inductees.