Azusa Pacific University recently inducted 487 students into the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi), making this new chapter’s inaugural class the largest ever installed in the organization’s history. Founded in 2001, the society develops leaders committed to making a better world and boasts 260,000 members nationwide with more than 350 active college chapters. Further, it champions community action, volunteerism, personal growth, and building actively engaged, influential, and inspiring global citizens.
“The society aligns with our academic curriculum and the cultural value of leadership here at Azusa Pacific,” said Sarah Visser, assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Organizational Psychology, program coordinator for the leadership minor, and advisor to the Sigma Alpha Pi chapter. “Sigma Alpha Pi provides an opportunity for APU’s many student leaders to come together with a shared purpose and become better equipped in their leadership skills. The student inductees represent a wide array of academic disciplines, cocurricular involvements, and community partnerships.”
In late fall 2012, Visser partnered with the One Stop: Undergraduate Registrar to select potential members of Sigma Alpha Pi based on grade-point average, leadership involvement, commitment to leadership development and practice, and faculty recommendations. Once invited, students completed rigorous induction requirements, such as attending multiple training and speaker events and participating in peer support and networking teams. “The society is a perfect fit for APU. It provides students with the opportunity to discover their passions and achieve their career goals,” said Raz Zapanta ’14, president of the Sigma Alpha Pi chapter and a business management major.
“It’s clear that APU has a long tradition of community involvement and academic excellence, and their society chapter reflects that legacy,” said Charles Knippen, president of the National Society of Leadership and Success. “We are incredibly proud of what Azusa Pacific University has accomplished in just its first year, and we look forward to what these students will accomplish.”
Given recent findings, chances are those achievements will prove impressive. According to a 2011–12 National Society of Leadership and Success study, 97 percent of chapter advisors report that the society positively impacts retention and grades on their campuses. As colleges and universities throughout the nation seek ways to elevate student involvement, reduce attrition, and provide hands-on leadership experience, APU’s partnership with this society equips students with an undeniable advantage and sets them up for success.