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Student Activities and Honor Societies

Memorial Union Activities and Services

The Memorial Union is an historic building that is regarded as the heart of campus life and the center of informal education at Iowa State University.


Arts, Entertainment, Recreation:

  • Underground (bowling, billiards, video arcade, Nintendo Wii)
  • Maintenance Shop: live music
  • Student Union Board: weekly films, comedy, hypnotists, special events, much more
  • Art exhibits and art-for-rent
  • Workspace (art and crafts classes for fun, studios for work in wood, photo, pottery; button maker, screen printing, die cut machine)
  • Big screen TVs; pianos to play
  • Lectures

Student Organizations

  • Student organization offices and meeting space; recognition process.

Dining & Shopping

  • Food Court & MU Market & Café
  • University Book Store

Study Spots

  • Browsing Library & Computer Lab; Chapel; Multicultural Center
  • Lounges: Main, West, Pride, Commons & more


  • Hotel, meeting rooms, catering
  • Parking ramp
  • Copy Center
  • Soults Family Visitor Center
  • ATMs, Ticket Office, Lockers
  • U.S. Post Office – full service
  • Student Legal Service

Distinctive Feature

  • Gold Star Hall, an active memorial to Iowa State service personnel lost in the nation's conflicts

Student Activities Center

Director of Student Activities

George Micalone

Coordinator for Leadership and Service

Jennifer Garrett

Coordinator for Art Programs

Letitia Kenemer

Coordinator for Entertainment Programs


Underground Recreation Center Manager

Doug Swanson

The Student Activities Center (SAC) in the Memorial Union is committed to helping students learn inside and outside the classroom by offering countless ways to get involved at Iowa State through leadership, service, arts, entertainment and recreation activities.

The Student Activities Center includes: the Workspace (arts studio), the Maintenance Shop (entertainment venue), the Underground (recreation center/ bowling alley), leadership and service programs, art galleries in the MU, Multicultural Center, and management of the recognition of over 700 campus and student organizations. For a complete list of recognized organizations visit

The staff provides assistance to student and campus organization leaders, members and advisers on an individual or group basis. This office produces Newsline, an online newsletter distributed twice a month to officers and advisers of recognized student and campus organizations. Available on the SAC website are resources for student and campus organizations including the event authorization process, publicity and promotion ideas, constitution writing guidelines, and officer transition information. The Student Activities Center offers a 1-credit course called Leadership ISU where students learn leadership skills through a series of activities and seminars.

Annual SAC events include: ClubFest I & II (organization involvement fair), WelcomeFest (Ames and ISU opportunity fair), Coach Talks (hear from Men's and Women's head basketball coaches), Iowa State Leadership Experience (one-day leadership conference), Social Justice Summit, and Winterfest (celebration of all things winter). Student Activities Center staff advise key student organizations including: Student Union Board, Dance Marathon, Freshmen Council, Student Volunteer Services, The 10,000 Hours Show, and VEISHEA.

More information is available at the Student Activities Center, located in the East Student Office Space in the Memorial Union (across from the Food Court); online at; or by calling (515) 294-8081.


Throughout the academic year, the Committee on Lectures brings to the campus a number of speakers eminent in national and international affairs, the sciences, and the arts. In addition to giving formal lectures, a number of these speakers meet with students informally for discussions. Through these lectures and discussions the students are given a well-rounded presentation on subjects and areas affecting their culture, educational and economic philosophy, and scientific development. Past speakers include scholars E.O. Wilson and Stephen J. Gould; activists Gloria Steinem and Anita Hill; actor and comedian Bill Cosby; poet Maya Angelou; and astronaut Sally Ride.

The Institute on World Affairs is an annual series of speakers and on a topic of international interest held in the fall. Spring semester, the Institute on National Affairs is held with a topic of national concern as its focus. Focus, an annual fine arts festival with emphasis on student creativity in the arts, is held in the spring. The Committee on Lectures also sponsors or co-sponsors dramatic, dance, and musical events.

Students are encouraged to contact the lectures program office and become involved in the planning of these events.

Motor Vehicles and Bicycles

Students are permitted to own and operate motor vehicles - automobiles, motor scooters, and motorcycles. However, motor vehicles are in no way necessary for an Iowa State University student. Iowa State University is primarily a pedestrian campus. Those who operate a motor vehicle or bicycle on campus must abide by the rather extensive traffic and parking regulations. Fines are levied for infractions of these regulations. All motor vehicles and bicycles owned or operated by students on university property must be registered with the Parking Division Office located in the Armory. Copies of the traffic and parking regulations also are available at this office or online at .

Honor Societies

Honor societies at Iowa State University provide opportunities for students who excel in the classroom and want to network with others in their major. Below is a list of honor societies followed by a brief description.

Members of these honor societies are eligible for transcript recognition through the Office of the Registrar. More information, including the complete list of honor societies, can be found on the student organization database at .

Alpha Epsilon—Agricultural Engineering

The purpose is to promote the high ideals of the engineering profession, to give recognition to those agricultural engineers who manifest worthy qualities of character, scholarship, and professional attainment, and to encourage and support such improvements in the agricultural engineering profession that make it an instrument of greater service to humanity. Membership is based on scholarship, leadership, and character.

Alpha Kappa Delta—Sociology

Members share interest in the field of sociology, research of social problems, and such other social and intellectual activities as will lead to improvement in the human condition.

Alpha Lambda Delta/Phi Eta Sigma — Freshmen

First-year students who achieve at least a 3.5 GPA for one or more semesters their first year may be members of these national honor societies. These societies encourage superior scholastic attainment among students in their first year at institutions of higher education.

Alpha Pi Mu—Industrial Engineering

Members are chosen for character, achievement, and scholarship in industrial engineering. The group provides social and educational interaction for industrial engineering.

Alpha Upsilon Alpha—Education

An educational honorary, this group recognizes and encourages scholarship and leadership in the field of reading.

Alpha Zeta—Agriculture

Members must have completed three semesters of study in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or Veterinary Medicine and be in the upper two-fifths of their class. Meetings are held to foster high standards of scholarship, character, and leadership. Alpha Zeta sponsors lectures, service projects, and promotes the agricultural programs at ISU.

Beta Alpha Psi – Accounting

A national honorary for students in accounting, Beta Alpha Psi recognizes academic excellence and complements members' formal education by providing interaction between students, faculty, and professionals, and fosters lifelong growth, service and ethical conduct.

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

A national organization for students in the biological sciences with a purpose to recognize undergraduates with exceptional scholarship, leadership and character.

Beta Gamma Sigma

An honor society for collegiate schools of business, Beta Gamma Sigma recognizes high academic achievement.

Cardinal Key—Senior Leadership

The Senior Honor Society of Cardinal Key recognizes those persons who have been outstanding leaders in college life, who have rendered noteworthy service to Iowa State University, who are of high moral character, and who rank high scholastically. Members are selected by application and interview.

Chi Epsilon—Civil Engineering

The purpose of this honorary is to develop the profession of civil engineering through the interaction of members, fellow civil engineering students, and faculty. Scholarship, character, practicality, and sociability are the fundamental requirements for membership.

Epsilon Pi Tau—Education in Technology

Members are selected from the upper one-fourth of the juniors, seniors, and graduate students in industrial technology. The group strives to promote skill, social and professional efficiency, and research.

Eta Kappa Nu—Electrical and Computer Engineering

An International Honor Society for primarily juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students and professional engineers. The organization recognizes scholarship, personal character, useful voluntary services, and distinguished accomplishments. It assists its members throughout their lives in becoming better professionals and citizens.

Gamma Sigma Delta—Agriculture

The honorary encourages a high degree of excellence in the practice of agricultural pursuits and encourages high standards of scholarship in all branches of agricultural science and education. Membership includes junior and senior students, graduate students, faculty, and alumni.

Golden Key—All University

A national nonprofit academic honors organization, Golden Key is dedicated to recognizing and encouraging scholastic achievement in all undergraduate fields of study and to uniting collegiate faculty and administrators.

Kappa Delta Pi—Education

In an effort to promote excellence in and recognize outstanding contributions to education, Kappa Delta Pi maintains a high degree of professional fellowship among its members, quickens professional growth, and honors achievement in educational work. Membership invitations are extended to second semester sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a GPA of 3.25 or above.

Kappa Omicron Nu, Gamma Chapter

Objectives of the honor society are to promote graduate study and research, and to stimulate scholarship and leadership toward the well-being of individuals and families throughout the world. Top 10 percent of junior and top 20 percent of senior students maintaining at least a B average, and outstanding graduate students in family and consumer sciences, are eligible for selection. Research within the college is shared at monthly meetings.

Kappa Tau Alpha—Journalism

Kappa Tau Alpha is the national society dedicated to the recognition and promotion of scholarship in the field of journalism. Members are selected from the upper 10 percent of the senior class. Graduate students and faculty who qualify are also eligible for membership.

Mortar Board

Members are recognized for superior academic achievement and community service.

National Society of Collegiate Scholars

The purpose is to recognize and celebrate high achievement in all academic disciplines, to provide opportunities for personal growth and leadership development, and to organize and encourage learning opportunities through community service.

Omega Chi Epsilon—Chemical Engineering

Membership is open to chemical engineering juniors in the top 20 percent of their class, or seniors in the top 30 percent. The purpose is recognition and promotion of high scholarship, original investigation, and professional service in chemical engineering.

Order of Omega—Fraternity and Sorority Honorary

A national Greek honorary, the Order of Omega was founded at Iowa State in 1957. Criteria for membership include character; scholarship; leadership; service to the individual chapter, the Greek system, the university, and the Ames community. Membership is limited to junior and senior students who comprise one percent of the Greek population.

Phi Alpha Theta—History

Students who have a B average in at least 15 hours of history are eligible for membership. The local branch sponsors social activities, co-sponsors prizes for undergraduate essays in history, and encourages students' participation in state wide, regional, and national Phi Alpha Theta conferences.

Phi Beta Delta, Alpha Delta Chapter

The honor society recognizes and encourages high professional, intellectual and personal achievements in the field of international education.

Phi Beta Kappa—Liberal Arts and Sciences

Phi Beta Kappa is a national honorary society, founded in 1776 "to recognize and encourage scholarship, friendship, and cultural interests." Membership is by invitation to students enrolled in the LAS curriculum. To be eligible, juniors must have at least a 3.80 cumulative grade point average and seniors, at least a 3.60 average. Other criteria for membership include requirements in the mathematical disciplines and a foreign language.

Phi Kappa Phi—All University

This national honor society recognizes and encourages superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. Membership is open to qualified undergraduates and graduates by invitation and occasionally to faculty and alumni.

Phi Upsilon Omicron—Family and Consumer Sciences

Members are selected from junior and senior family and consumer sciences students who have demonstrated academic excellence and professional leadership qualities. Membership is a means of furthering professional goals. Outstanding graduate students are also eligible for selection.

Pi Mu Epsilon—Mathematics

Pi Mu Epsilon is the national mathematics honorary society whose purpose is the promotion of scholarly activity in mathematics among students and staff. Members are students and faculty who have completed at least two years of college-level mathematics with honor (at least 3.33 GPA) and have maintained an overall GPA of at least 3.0.

Pi Sigma Alpha—Political Science

Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honor political science honor society.

Pi Tau Sigma—Mechanical Engineering

Members are juniors and seniors in the upper ranks of their classes in mechanical engineering. Meetings and social functions are held to recognize and encourage outstanding scholastic achievement.

Psi Chi—Psychology

This national honor society in psychology recognizes and honors individuals maintaining high scholarship and documented interest in psychology.

Sigma Delta Pi—Spanish

Honor society for high-achieving students of the Spanish language at Iowa State University.

Sigma Gamma Tau—Aerospace Engineering

Sigma Gamma Tau is the national honorary for aerospace-aeronautical engineering students who have displayed outstanding scholarship, leadership, and personal characteristics. Members are selected from the upper fourth of the junior class and upper third of the senior class who have maintained a 3.00 or better cumulative grade point average.

Sigma Lambda Chi—Construction Engineering

The purpose is the recognition of outstanding students in construction engineering. Upperclass students in construction engineering may be initiated into the society providing they have an overall scholastic average in the upper 20 percent of their class.

Sigma Phi Omega, chapter Alpha Omega—Gerontology

National academic honor and professional society that recognizes excellence in the study of gerontology/aging, and serves as a link between gerontology educators, alumni, and local professionals. The mission of SPO is to promote scholarship, professionalism, friendship, and services to older persons, and to recognize exemplary attainment in gerontology/aging studies and related fields.

Sigma Tau Delta—English

An international English honor society, the purpose of this honorary is to confer distinction upon outstanding students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.

Sigma Xi—Research

Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is a broad-based scientific honor society with over 500 chapters and clubs at universities and nonacademic scientific institutions. Sigma Xi awards associate membership to undergraduates and graduate students who have demonstrated research potential through participation in an original scientific research activity. Full membership in Sigma Xi recognizes a significant scientific research contribution.

Tau Beta Pi—Engineering

Tau Beta Pi honors engineering undergraduates, graduate students, and outstanding alumni who have distinguished themselves in scholarship and by exemplary character. Members are selected from engineering juniors in the upper eighth and seniors and graduate students in the upper fifth of their classes.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon—Computer Science

An honor society for computer science students.

Xi Sigma Pi—Forestry

An honor society that recognizes outstanding juniors, seniors, graduate students and faculty members in forestry. The objective is to encourage high professional standards in the profession of forestry and to promote fraternal relationships among foresters.