Pi Sigma Alpha (PSI), the nation’s sole honor society for students of political science, has awarded the University of Bridgeport (UB) chapter the coveted Chapter Activity Grant for the eleventh consecutive year. The grant of $1,200, the largest UB has received from PSI, is a result of a proposal designed and written entirely by student members.
College of Public and International Affairs (CPIA) Dean Thomas Ward, whose college oversees the chapter, noted that considering 117 chapters applied this year, “this is a remarkable achievement.”
Only the top ten percent of undergraduate juniors, seniors, and graduate students are invited to join Pi Sigma Alpha, which speaks to the high standards students are required to meet to be eligible for membership, according to Chapter Advisor and Associate Professor Dave Benjamin.
“The UB chapter has received this grant for eleven successive years because of the caliber of its student members, their collective vision for the chapter, and the efforts of the chapter in public education about issues of global importance,” Dr. Benjamin said.
The 2016-17 Chapter Activity Grant will be used to fund The Role of Media in Conflict Resolution, this year’s colloquium focus. The UB chapter met in October to develop a creative idea for the colloquium that would bring attention to the chapter and get students working together. The proposal was written by Chapter President and Religion and Politics (RLPL) major Sung Soon Gaval, and Global Development and Peace (GDP) program students: Chapter Vice President Martina Santia, Chapter Secretary Mireya Tipantasig-Cardenas, and Adrian Ramirez.
Explained Santia, “Considering the pivotal role media plays in worsening the divide, as during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, it will be interesting to analyze media contribution towards resolution. As the Syrian crisis is covered in real time, discussing the reporting of these events is essential in understanding the position of the international community in the wake of an increasing number of conflicts and the need for solutions.”
This year’s colloquium, still in its planning stages, will be hosted at the University of Bridgeport on April 5 and will feature three experts, including one from the United Nations.
“Without the continued confidence of the national leadership in the standards and integrity of the Alpha Gamma Pi chapter at UB, the annual colloquium would not be funded,” said Dr. Benjamin. “We thank them for their commitment to issues of global importance — from human trafficking to the global economic crisis of 2007, from the future of the Eurozone to the role of media in conflict resolution.”
Professor Benjamin has guided UB’s chapter for eight years. Student members traditionally come from CPIA departments in International Political Economy and Diplomacy, Political Science, Religion and Politics, Global Development and Peace, and East Asia and Pacific Rim Studies. The UB chapter participates in the honor society’s conferences as well as internship and graduate scholarship programs. Pi Sigma Alpha, founded in 1920, is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and has over 700 chapters.