WGS students inducted into 'Triota' honor society

By Ty Konell | 2/7/18 11:57pm

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GVL / Ty Konell Triota Event

Major-specific honor societies have the potential to make a student feel proud and connected to the subject area they study. One major-specific honor society at Grand Valley State University is Iota Iota Iota (sometimes called "Triota"), which is a national women and gender studies honor society. Triota inducted its new members for the 2017-18 academic year with a celebratory induction breakfast on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in the Kirkhof Center. 

More than 20 GVSU students were inducted into the honor society, more than doubling the number of inductees from the 2016-17 academic year.

“Personally, I think the reason that Triota's numbers are up is because faculty members and Triota's e-board have made concerted efforts to get the word out this year," said Ruth Ott, Triota president. "I remember last year, when I joined, there wasn't as much mention of Triota in my classes. This year, e-board members have gone into sessions of WGS 200 to spread the word, and faculty members have been promoting the events that we've held and talking about Triota with students more.”

Ott also said she is hopeful that the increase in number is a sign of a new level of student involvement in the honor society.

“I'm really excited to see that Triota's numbers are up, and I think that we're going to have a larger presence on campus in the semesters to come,” Ott said. “Hopefully this will translate to more involvement in the WGS department as well.”

The speakers at the induction said the ceremony was a way of celebrating the achievements of the inducted students, who must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in their women, gender and sexuality studies courses to be accepted. 

“This is a women and gender studies honor society, and we are here to really recognize and celebrate students and their success,” said Cael Keegan, assistant professor of liberal studies and women, gender and sexuality studies, and faculty adviser for Triota.

Ott, who helped induct members, said the organization works to highlight and celebrate different gendered experiences, as well as preserve feminist values that are important within the field of women, gender and sexuality studies. 

“Iota Iota Iota strives to maintain feminist values central to women, gender and sexuality studies: egalitarianism, inclusiveness and celebration of the diversity of gendered experiences,” Ott said. “The purpose of this organization is to encourage and support scholarship and excellence for women, gender and sexuality studies at Grand Valley State University.”

Using a real-life example to detail the impact of the honor society, keynote speaker Nathan Bentley, GVSU alumnus and former member of the honor society’s executive board, spoke about his involvement with the Grand Rapids drag scene. 

“The first time I picked up a makeup brush, it was more than grabbing a utensil and smearing paint on my face: It was an act of rebellion,” Bentley said in his keynote address. “As time went on, my partner and I both started performing comedy. It was through drag comedy, and of course my involvement in the women and gender studies program and Triota, that I gained a voice.”

For more information on Triota, visit www.gvsu.edu/wgs.

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