Zeta Rho-ESA collects two international awards 

Ruston’s Zeta Rho chapter of the service group Epsilon Sigma Alpha has received two awards from the organization’s international council. 

One is the Above and Beyond Award, which is given to an individual or chapter whose activities and accomplishments have surpassed ESA’s normal expectations. The other spotlights chapters whose educational programs ranked in the Top 10 worldwide. 

The awards were presented to the chapter at state and international conventions, respectively, and resulted from work done throughout the past ESA year. 

Mary Anne Sayer, then president of Louisiana ESA, nominated the Zeta Rho chapter for the Above and Beyond Award based on activities successfully pursued during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This chapter is really creative and has a positive outlook,” she said. “All year their chapter engaged in mastering Zoom so that they continued to meet each month, and this allowed them to plan and hold several fundraisers despite the pandemic.” This ability to function in the virtual world also led to Zeta Rho’s helping ramrod a statewide Zoom rush event. 

Sayer cited the chapter’s role with local St. Jude Radiothon activities as well. In addition to working with the traditional phone banks that operate during the event, she said, “They have partnered with the local universities to do on-site fundraising at local businesses during the event. This shows heartfelt enthusiasm for our cause.” 

Members also regularly participated in the international president’s Coffee Chat Zoom meetings held every two weeks during the worst part of the pandemic, “which speaks to Zeta Rho’s interest in learning from other states about ways to make even more of a difference in the world,” Sayer said. 

The Above and Beyond Award was presented to the chapter by the current ESA international president, Robin Bussey, at a statewide convention in Morgan City. 

Norlyn Hyde, Zeta Rho-ESA secretary, sees a special meaning in the award. “Customarily, this honor goes to a single individual recognizing their dedication and hard work on behalf of ESA,” she said. “I felt the award was particularly meaningful to Zeta Rho because it’s a testament to all of our members and the extraordinary work that we did during a COVID pandemic.”

Another longtime Zeta Rho-ESA member, awards and philanthropic chair Nancy Darland, noted that the values of ESA include education, leadership and service and that constraints imposed by the pandemic last year forced the group to think outside the box to fulfill goals in these areas. “I’m pleased that our chapter was able to carry on providing educational programs, developing new skills and serving our community despite the challenges and am honored to have received such recognition,” she said.

The Top 10 Educational Award was presented at the group’s international convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Zeta Rho’s educational program series, “Faith, Hope and Love: Looking Back to Inspire the Future, was chaired by Sallie Rose Hollis and Jennifer Patterson. This tied in with the chapter’s theme for the year, “Faith, Hope and Love,” and also to Sayer’s statewide theme that dealt with roots: “Legacy of Kindness Rooted in Friendship.” 

Nine educationals were presented throughout the year.  

Hollis explained the local theme: “‘Faith’ and ‘Hope’ referred to, among other things, the ways that we in our area have approached – and continue to face – consequences from natural disasters that have affected the area. ‘Hope’ dovetails directly with St. Jude’s mantra. And ‘Love’ relates to the love we have for our ESA brothers and sisters, plus the people we are helping, as well as all our fellow human beings.” 

As Zeta Rho-ESA president, Hollis said if there are those interested in joining the group’s philanthropic activities, the door to membership is always open. For more information contact her at sallierose@mail.com

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