Lambda Sigma is a coed Sophomore honors society made up of 50 individual members from a broad spectrum of majors and backgrounds. Members are chosen from first year Northern Illinois University students that earned a 3.2 gpa or higher in the fall semester of their freshmen year, are involved in the university and the community, and exemplify Lambda Sigma's four pillars; Leadership, Fellowship, Scholarship, and Service.
Membership into Lambda Sigma has many benefits as well as responsibilities. Each member receives a certificate of Membership from the National Lambda Sigma Organization, Membership Pin, and the National Newsletter. Along with these benefits, members also get to meet and work with other outstanding second year students at Northern Illinois University. Membership activities include community service projects like volunteering at the Kiwanis haunted house, cleaning the creek, working with local nursing homes, canned food drives for Hope Haven and helping other local and national charities and groups like Relay for Life. University service projects include ushering for productions by the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Members also hold fundraisers for their year's Homecoming and Formal events. Membership does include some expenses like national dues and the purchasing of the members year's T-shirt.
Members meet, at minimum, once every other week for general meetings, attendance is required at these meetings to keep member status. At the beginning of the year, members are divided into different committees that are in charge of various things like fundraising, public relations, and service (see "Roster" page for entire list of committees).
In the spring of 1931, Nu Alpha Lambda was established as a sophomore women's honor society at what was then Northern Illinois State Teacher's College. Its purpose was to foster higher standards in education and to promote leadership and service to the college among freshman women.
In 1954, under the guidance of the Dean of Women, Ruth Haddock, Nu Alpha Lambda petitioned for membership into Cwens. The Nu Alpha Lambda officers and advisors were initiated into Cwens at the national convention of 1954, and the Omicron Chapter of Cwens was installed in DeKalb, Illinois on December 5, 1954.
Cwens had thrived throughout the years due to efforts of many members and advisors; among them, advisors Ruth Haddock and Joy Nelson. Since its beginning, Cwens has seen changes come both in its organization and in its chapters. Northern Illinois State Teachers College became Northern Illinois University in 1957 and now enrolls over 21,000 on-campus students in five undergraduate colleges and the graduate school.
The 45 Cwens members have determined their program of social, service, and educational events annually. A long-standing Cwens (now Lambda Sigma) project has been ushering for university theatrical productions, football games, and commencement exercises. The most dramatic change in Omicron Chapter's history came in the fall of 1976 when the chapter was informed that Cwens had been dissolved and that a new national organization was being formed. 1976-77 President Rose Tonies, Vice-President Nancy Kowal, Sandy Bialek, and advisor Denise Rode, attended the national convention at Westminister College to learn about the changes. They came back full of enthusiasm for Lambda Sigma and succeeded in spreading this to the rest of the chapter. Within a few months of hard work on the part of members and officers, the transition was complete. At the first Lambda Sigma feast on April 22, 1977, 18 men and 27 women were initiated into the Lambda Sigma Society at NIU. The Omicron Chapter, proud of its past in Cwens, looks forward with optimism to its future in Lambda Sigma.
Our chapter is part of the Lambda Sigma National Honor Society. The national organization conducts an on-going service project annually that provides scholarships for outstanding current members who are completing undergraduate programs. Each chapter may nominate one candidate annually. For more information on the national organization, please visit their website at www.lambdasigma.org.