Iowa State has deep agricultural roots. In November of 1905, Iowa State founded the Wilson Chapter of Alpha Zeta. The chapter received the name from the first Professor of Agriculture and the First Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Iowa Agricultural College, James ‘Tama Jim’ Wilson.
Today the chapter has about 60 active members, but has struggled in recent years to become an active fraternity. Because their College of Agriculture also houses the Biological sciences, the Wilson Chapter has educational diversity with members from biology, chemistry and food science to more traditional fields like animal sciences, agronomy and agricultural engineering.
The chapter had to find a way to engage every member of the honors fraternity and they found a solution. It had to start with strong leadership. "The biggest difference in processing now is that we have had people in leadership positions that are truly passionate about the organization and are always pushing forward,” said Rachel Owen, current Chancellor.
Once leadership was established, the Wilson Chapter focused on member involvement. They realized members hold academics very high and are usually involved with multiple organizations. So the chapter has every member serve on one of seven committees- banquet, new initiates, finance, bi-laws, publicity, service and VEISHEA. Each committee hosts one or two events each year letting members pick the best time frame for them. This prevents the chapter from competing with the other organizations that members might be involved with and letting them pick their time frame.
Meetings have also been stepped up to increase the level of excitement. Guest speakers including Alpha Zeta alumni, faculty members and industry representatives are invited to give their advice to members.
The chapter tries to keep activities fun for their members as well. Two favorites are "Pie your Professor,” that goes on during VEISHA, a university celebration. Another favorite is their "Thrift Store Formal,” where members go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill to buy clothing to wear to their December, potluck meeting.
This year four representatives from the Wilson Chapter will be attending the NALC in Fresno, California, which is great improvement from last year. "Because our chapter went through a phase of being very inactive, we are most proud of the progress we have made the past few years,” Owen said.
|Several Wilson members volunteer to work at the concession stands to raise money for chapter activities.||At VEISHA, a university celebration, Wilson chapter hosted a "Pie Your Professor" activity that has become a big hit!|