Pi Sigma Alpha is a nearly 100-year-old political science honors society that hosts and participates in political events, and often partners with nonprofit organizations to take part in charitable causes.
On Wednesday, during the Cal State Fullerton chapter’s event “Party With a Purpose,” the honors society wrapped the gifts it collected for children and teens for its holiday drive to distribute to local nonprofit organizations like the CSUF Center for Healthy Neighborhoods.
Founded in 1920, Pi Sigma Alpha has over 700 chapters at different colleges across the nation. Its members include graduate and upper-level undergraduate students who recognize and promote high academic achievement in the field of political science.
It takes a lot more than just interest to be a member of this exclusive group. Students have to meet certain qualifications in order to be asked to join. For undergraduates, these requirements include the completion of at least 10 units in political science, as well as three upper-division units and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
The CSUF chapter has been around since the 1960s, according to Valerie O’Regan, CSUF political science professor and advisor of the PSA Fullerton Chapter. However, the society was discontinued for a period of time and was not re-established until the early 1990s.
The society is mainly run by student officers, and the members choose how active they are in regards to what events and service opportunities they would like to participate in. In the past, they have done research conferences, co-sponsored election debates and held a panel on international relations.
Members are given the opportunity to participate in community service, social and special guest speaker events. They can also attend conferences and network with other students, faculty and alumni.
Twice a year, members can also submit their research to be published online in the Pi Sigma Alpha Journal of Politics online.
Next year, Pi Sigma Alpha plans to host a local political panel for which it will invite political science experts and professors to provide their expertise on certain issues and topics pertaining to local elections in Orange County.
Pi Sigma Alpha is not just beneficial for students seeking to build their resumes or become active on campus. Sara Salinas, president of the Pi Sigma Alpha Fullerton Chapter, said that joining the society made a positive impact on her college experience by helping her to become more accustomed to speaking with all kinds of people.
“It has really helped me step out of my comfort zone and talk to people, make announcements and help recruit (people) for our events,” Salinas said.
By being apart of the honors society, she has also created friendships with other political science majors that have been in her classes beforehand.
“You’ve had them in a couple classes, haven’t really talked to them and then once you realize you’re both part of Pi Sigma Alpha, it really solidifies that,” Salinas said. “So it’s a good networking group.”