FREE Professional Development Webinar
Learn how to use the placement process to build more equitable, student-centered colleges using findings from a national research study funded by the Ascendium Education Group.
Female student in jean jacket climbing stairs to academic building with blurry students in background

Inaugural University-Wide Tri-Alpha Honor Society Induction at Temple University

Frank Nelson, Jennifer Johnson, Temple University / The Center / June 03, 2024

Temple University Tri-Alpha Induction Class
The Mission

Ten weeks before our April 4th induction ceremony for Alpha Alpha Alpha, the National Honor Society for First-Generation College students, or "Tri-Alpha" for short, Temple University agreed to shift from a college-based chapter of Tri-Alpha to pushing it university wide. What a happy problem to have! This would allow for a larger community base and for more students’ accomplishments to be acknowledged. Logistically, however, this was a big shift. The largest induction I led had 300 potential inductees. Now I had 5000 potential inductees. However, this time I had several campus colleagues to help make this lift possible and, in some ways, less daunting.

The Challenges

The first major challenge was identifying the students. An advising team and the bursar’s office made light and quick work of this task. They whittled our population of 5000 second year and beyond first-generation students to 1809 eligible first-generation students. Before I go on, I would like to acknowledge 36% of our first-generation students had a 3.2 GPA or greater. These students were also distributed across all 13 colleges in the university. This is amazing and helped keep me going! Back to organization, we now had the students identified and needed to work on messaging. Part of that messaging involved the cost of induction. Thankfully, the university agreed to pay the fees for induction. The other parts were making sure everyone was properly identified, whether they wanted to join or not, whether they planned to attend the in-person event, and whether a guest would be joining them or not. The main part of this message was created by our Tri-Alpha officers. Our office of career services sent it out and collected the data. We had six weeks to collect the responses, assemble a program, and get ready for the celebration. Two weeks later, we had 300 responses from students wanting to be inducted, 200 of which wanted to attend the ceremony and bring guests.

Temple University first-gen tri-alpha induction
The Event

Our Tri-Alpha officers, juniors and seniors at Temple, created a program and started planning the event, while I worked on securing a room. One week before the induction, all the pieces were in place. Now it was fingers crossed for a successful event. April 4, 2024, was a rainy day in Philadelphia, but thankfully the rain stopped long enough for all parties to arrive dry and safe. The arrival was slow and anxiety inducing, but after the first 100 students, there was so much going on you could not worry about details anymore! Now it was time to see how the planning and infrastructure held up. Thankfully it held up well, all 200 students and a few first-generation faculty and staff were inducted with their certificates and pins received. The inductees along with friends and family gathered in the atrium outside the ceremonial room to share food, love, and laughter. There were some pitfalls, of course, and we will try to plan for this next year. Overall, it was a successful event where students, faculty, and staff along with families felt recognized and appreciated.

For more information on Temple University's approach, please visit their website here.