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UW-Eau Claire honor society wins national award

| Gary Johnson

Photo caption: A UW-Eau Claire honor society remained engaged with its members by being creative during the pandemic. (Photo by Shane Opatz)

A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire honor society for high-achieving students has received Diamond Star status as the best chapter in the country from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

UW-Eau Claire’s NSCS organization is the only chapter in the nation to receive the elite designation this year. It has been a top-performing chapter for many years, also winning the Diamond Star award in 2018-19.

“I am proud of the 220-plus student clubs and organizations on our campus, but the NSCS stands out for me because of the contributions its members have made to our campus and our community,” says UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt. “I have been impressed with the range of service opportunities that the chapter offered to its membership this year, especially during a year when the university and the nation grappled with pandemic constraints.”

Students are recruited for the honor society during their first two years at the university and can remain in NSCS for their entire university career. NSCS provides opportunities for academic achievement, leadership development and community involvement.

According to NSCS officials, UW-Eau Claire’s chapter stood out among the more than 320 chapters in the country for its professionalism in the application process, its ability to conduct meaningful events during a pandemic and for providing professional development events for members.

The UW-Eau Claire chapter was the most successful of any chapter at transitioning to virtual and safely socially distanced events while maintaining a “superb” level of engagement, according to the NSCS.

“The chapter leaders demonstrated resilience and creativity when planning virtual engagement activities all year long,” according to the NSCS. “The chapter has a history of going above and beyond to help the community and make their campus a better place to be a student, and this year was no different. The chapter held a wide variety of events — social, community service and professional development — and it was successful in its fundraising efforts.”

UW-Eau Claire chapter advisor Jasmine Case called this year’s award a “huge honor” that shows chapter members’ commitment to service.

“Our chapter is entirely student-led — all the great ideas, hard work and leadership come from the amazing officers and the members of NSCS,” says Case, an academic advisor in the Advising, Retention and Career Center. “COVID forced them to look for creative ways to engage members and serve both the local and national communities. From sending Thanksgiving cards to health care workers and holiday cards to nursing home residents to donating homemade masks to The Community Table in Eau Claire and collecting food for our local community, these students are committed to making a positive impact.

“I’m so impressed by the dedication and heart of our students at UWEC. Even during really tough times, it’s been inspiring to see students doing so much to lift each other up in big and small ways every day.” 

UW-Eau Claire’s chapter worked hard to keep members involved during the unusual year of the pandemic, says Zoha Suhail, who will be chapter president this fall. Chapter members filled out a survey inquiring about the types of events members preferred; chapter leadership used the responses to develop activities for the future.

“We want our members to be as active as possible and by asking them what they would like to see and following through with it, they feel more a part of NSCS,” says Suhail, a senior from Eau Claire majoring in nursing with a minor in mathematics.