Eleven members of Union University’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter traveled Feb. 26 to Savannah, Ga., for the 90th annual Sigma Tau Delta International Convention.
Roger Stanley, assistant professor of English, and Andrew Gray, visiting instructor of English, are the Union faculty members who attended.
Founded in 1924, Sigma Tau Delta is an English honor society for students at four-year colleges and universities.
At the convention, students presented critical and creative work to peers and faculty from schools around the world.
Participating schools included University of Toronto Scarborough, Texas A&M University and Lee University.
The work students present goes through a process of review and acceptance by Sigma Tau Delta.
Every Union student who submitted to the conference was accepted this year.
Additionally, keynote speakers presented lectures.
The featured speakers this year were Alison Bechdel, Justin Torres, Daniel Mendelsohn and Gin Phillips.
The Red and Black Gala is the concluding event of the convention.
At this semiformal dinner, awards for each genre are given, and participants in the convention are encouraged to wear red and black, the colors of the society.
The convention is held in a different location each year. Previous locations include Portland, Ore., and New Orleans, La.
Austin Gray, senior English and philosophy major, presented a series of poems entitled “Sex, Atheism, and Things I Wish I Knew More About.”
“It’s nice to have an outlet to publicly read. There aren’t a lot of outlets like this for undergraduates,” Gray said. “It sort of gives you a sense of what students from all over the country are writing about.”
Gray added the location of the conferences is important, too.
“Getting to see another part of the country was just as important as the conference,” Gray said. “Portland last year shaped my way of thinking.”
Taylor Hare, senior English major, participated in the Sigma Tau Delta convention for the first time this year.
Hare said before the conference that he expected to hear a variety of work from his peers and that the location is well-suited.
“Savannah is great,” Hare said. “It’s kind of a small town, but it has good character.”
Gracie Wise, senior English and history major, has been a member of Union’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter for two years and also attended the convention last year in Portland.
“I’m especially looking forward to the trip because of how enjoyable the trip was last year,” Wise said before the trip. “I have nothing but high expectations for the trip.”
Wise presented critical work on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and “Othello.” Her piece is called “Fathers, Daughters and Consequences of Independence.”
Wise said the group of students from Union has learned together throughout the years.
“I think that’s part of what makes the trip unique,” Wise said. “We’ve had classes together. We’ve had a chance to grow in our writing together.”
An element of community exists at the conference itself, Wise said.
“There’s a lot of community with the other students who are there,” Wise said. “You have really great discussions with people from other universities and places in the country. There’s a feeling of accomplishment on having worked on something privately and having the change to share it with other people.”