College Junior starts Penn chapter of an international sociology honor society in the hope that it will enable students in the major to meet each other and develop a sense of community.

Credit: Courtesy of Tiffany Yau

When College junior and sociology major Tiffany Yau realized that she didn’t know many other people in her major, she decided to fix the problem herself. Stumbling across International Honor Society of Sociology,Alpha Kappa Delta, while looking for scholarships online, Yau thought it was the perfect solution to bridge the disconnect she found between Penn’s sociology majors.

“I realized the Sociology Department doesn’t have an honor society, so I thought: why not start one up?” Yau said.

She reached out to College senior and sociology major Tiffany Rodriguez, a classmate in one of her sociology courses, about starting a chapter at Penn. Together they contacted Sociology Department Undergraduate Chair Melissa Wilde, who has helped them with administrative tasks in setting up this organization.

While the main activity of Penn’s Alpha Kappa Delta will be a mentoring program between upperclassman sociology majors and new sociology majors, Yau and Rodriguez said they have explored many possibilities of where the club’s plans could lead, including putting on conferences with speakers from Penn’s Sociology Department or from other universities, movie nights and study sessions. The club plans to hold its first general body meeting on Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in Williams Hall G4.

“We could answer questions, give [underclassmen sociology majors] course tips, advice. We have a lot of people on very similar paths, [such as] med school or law school,” Rodriguez said. “It’s really helpful ... to have a centralized place where we could actually talk about this.”

Yau added that since Alpha Kappa Delta is an international organization, members of Penn’s chapter will have access to international conferences in sociological topics. According to the organization’s website, there are more than 660 chapters of Alpha Kappa Delta.

Yau also said that sociology used to be one of the more popular majors at Penn. However, it eventually branched out into health and societies, urban studies and criminology. Now there are about 50 sociology majors and minors at Penn, Rodriguez estimated.

While citing the size of the major as a reason for why people within the sociology major know very few others in the major, Rodriguez is optimistic that sociology majors could become more of a community through Alpha Kappa Delta.

“[The sociology major is] not so small that we should be having this struggle where nobody knows who’s also a sociology major,” she said. “So that’s why we really want to get this club started.”

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