Mortar Board society committed to literacy

Tricia Friesen

The Washburn University Ichabod chapter of Mortar Board Honor Society celebrated Mortar Board Week and held a children’s book drive from Monday, Feb. 12 through Friday, Feb. 16 .

During the week, members set up a table in the Union to talk with people about Mortar Board. Book bins were set up in various locations on campus, including the Student Activities and Greek Life office, Mabee Library, Memorial Union, Carnegie Hall and in the Student Life office in Morgan Hall. The books will be donated to various locations including pre-schools, day cares and non-profit organizations.

Jacob Prewett, president of the Mortar Board Honor Society, hopes around 100 books are donated.

“Our big focus is on getting the books collected and not so much the numbers,” said Prewett. “A few people can make a difference.”

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors’ accomplishments in scholarship, leadership and service. When a student agrees to join Mortar Board, they must acknowledge their responsibility and duty to be actively involved in chapter events. By becoming a member of the society, one is agreeing and committing themselves to support the ideals of society.

“The main goal [of Mortar Board] is to have students committed to service,” said Prewett. “Members are expected to be active and dedicated to community and campus efforts.”

“Reading is Leading” is the national project for Mortar Board Honor Societies across the country. The program’s goals are to get people interested in books by advocating reading. Prewett said the program encourages literacy in adults and children.

“It gets kids excited about reading in the community and ultimately be more involved in school work because reading is a big part of that,” said Prewett.

Each semester the honor society has a semester project all the members participate in. This semester the project is reading at pre-schools. Members participated by going to an area pre-school and reading to the class and then donating the book they read. The projects vary with each semester but still encompass the national theme of reading.

Denise Ottinger, vice president of Student Life, proposed the idea of a Mortar Board chapter on campus. She believes the “Reading is Leading” campaign benefits both children and adults alike, as well as encourages them to be great leaders.

“If you have people who are illiterate, then you have an illiterate society,” said Ottinger. “‘Reading is Leading’ opens up many opportunities.”