New organization heads to campus

It has taken nearly 93 years, but one of the country’s oldest leadership societies, Omicron Delta Kappa, has made its way to Florida A&M University.

The society was founded Dec. 3, 1914 at Washington and Lee University. ODK stresses leadership in scholarship, athletics, creative and performing arts, journalism and social service.

The society accepts only junior, seniors or graduate students in the upper 35 percent of their class, with the intentions of recognizing scholars who represent the highest standards. A few notable members of ODK include Shirley Chisolm, Martin Luther King III and Peyton Manning.

Ericka Foster, 19, a freshman business administration student from Jacksonville, said the society should have been on FAMU’s campus a long time ago.

“I think it’s great that it’s coming to our campus, but why is one of the biggest honor societies just getting to FAMU?” Foster asked.

Alex Dejarnett, the coordinator of Greek life and community involvement, does not dwell on how long it took for ODK to come to campus; instead he said he wants to move forward to form a productive organization.

Dejarnett contacted the Maryland-based ODK headquarters last year with hopes of bringing the society to the University.

“They were excited to hear that we were interested in bringing the honor society here to FAMU,” he said.

On November 2007, Dean Andristine Robinson, the vice president of extension for ODK, made a visit to FAMU. During her visit, Robinson met with Vice President of Student Affairs Roland Gaines, as well as a group of about 20 students to discuss ODK and its potential here at FAMU.

“Dean Robinson came to see the University’s support and the environment for a productive circle at FAMU,” Dejarnett said.

On Feb. 23, ODK will take part in Make A Difference Tallahassee, Dejarnett said.

The new campus honor society has gotten a positive response from students. In January, ODK held its first interest meeting and many students participated.

“Even though I’m too young to try and join the society, it gives me something to work for in my junior year,” Foster said.

Anrina Payne, 18, a freshman business administration student from Coon Rapids, Minn., attended the interest meeting and was impressed.

“I wanted to see what the honor society was about,” Payne said.

Dejarnett was pleased with the turnout.

“We are pleased at all the feedback we are getting from students,” Dejarnett said.

While there are many honor societies on campus, Dejarnett wants to make sure ODK stands out.

“What makes ODK different is its history…we want to make a real presence on campus…we want to establish a foundation here on campus first, then eventually expand over time,” he said.