To some, honor societies may seem like exclusive clubs for reclusive bookworms.
Members of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) may be bookworms, but they’re anything but reclusive.
NSCS draws its members from the ranks of those freshman and sophomores who have achieved above a 3.4 grade point average. Instead of comparing grades, members spend their time striving to fulfill the three pillars of NSCS: scholarship, leadership, and service.
NSCS‘ places tremendous importance on community service. Members are encouraged to attend one or two meetings a month, where student officers offer free pizza and describe the coming weeks‘ activities, which regularly include community service events as well as social events.
The club focuses on a major community service event each month, providing a battalion of motivated volunteers for a variety of causes and organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity.
“Habitat for Humanity was building a few houses in Woodland, and we volunteered to help. We helped paint the entire house-it took the whole day. At the end, we got to talk to the family moving in…it was a fun experience and very rewarding,” said Sean Pan, a junior managerial economics major and current vice president.
A regular event recently has also been NSCS‘ work with the Davis Tree Project, which aims to plant trees throughout the city of Davis. Other causes include Christmas toy drives, volunteer work with Davis Community Meals and the Sacramento Food Bank, and Relay for Life.
Through their Planning for College Success Program, NSCS sends two to three student volunteers most days of the week to tutor at Davis Elementary School, Holmes Middle School and Davis High School.
“It’s really great working with kids [and] for students like us to get to be teachers,” said Hasmik Minasyan, a senior neurobiology, physiology, and behavior (NPB) major and president. “And when I applied for a job at the Learning Skills Center, [the experience] really helped me…I could apply what I learned to broader things.“
Members get as much as they give through service, and their experiences have provided them with opportunities for growth as well as an incentive to continue.
“A lot of times, community service is seen as a waste of time, especially for college students with finals and midterms,” Pan said. “But it’s a way to give back to the community, a way to learn new things, and a way to learn about the people around you. In the end, it makes [for] more colorful people.“
And with 233 chapters in all fifty states, NSCS gives its members plenty of opportunities. Its national headquarters regularly sends thousands of students throughout the country e-mails regarding scholarships, internships, and other academic or career opportunities, many of which are exclusively for NSCS members. The organization also holds a national convention in a different state each year.
“NSCS is known as an organization for outstanding college students, and businesses come [to the convention] to recruit members. It’s a great opportunity to travel and meet different organizations,” Minasyan said.
Social events also serve an important function in helping members‘ achievement. Held approximately once a month, usually at Steve’s Pizza or Woodstock’s, social events are aimed at helping diverse members get to know each other.
“It’s a great chance to network. Students can share information about what teachers to take, what internships to apply for-we learn from each other,” said Brittney Ciszek, a sophomore and current social chair.
Better relationships between members help individuals help each other, and veteran members have also found that social events have boosted attendance at meetings and activities.
“It’s an eclectic group of students, and the diversity, especially, has been really great for me,” said Leah Kellgren, a junior political science major and co-vice president of community service. “Seeing all these different majors and interests coming together and being able to work together for a common goal is amazing.“
Students who would like to find out more about Davis NSCS are encouraged to attend meetings and inquire about community service and social events. More information can be found at www.ucdnscs.org. To learn more about the entire NSCS organization, please visit www.nscs.org.
ANDRE LEE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org