SPURS hangs it up

But a new honor society will carry on the tradition

At the SPURS national convention last October, delegates voted to dissolve the honor society as of May 31, 2006. SPURS (Service, Patriotism, Understanding, Responsibility, and Sacrifice) was founded in 1922 at Montana State University as an honor society and service club for sophomore women. Puget Sound became the fifth university admitted to the society when its chapter was formed in 1925. In the late 1970s, SPURS began admitting men, and in recent years, requirements changed to allow students of all years to belong.

Faculty advisor Alison Paradise ’82 said there were several reasons SPURS decided to disband. “First,” she said, “the organization was down to 11 active chapters, and only half of those were strong. (UPS has always had a relatively strong chapter.) Plus, communication within the organization was poor, and there was very little interest in members holding a national office.” Without leadership at the national level, SPURS was unable to sustain itself.

But the spirit of SPURS will live on at Puget Sound. A new organization, the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, will take its place. Phi Eta Sigma was founded in 1923 at the University of Illinois by members of Phi Beta Kappa. It is a freshman honor society that promotes academic excellence. Students are selected based on their freshman grade-point average (they must have at least a 3.5) and are members for life.

“I envision that Phi Eta Sigma will operate like SPURS,” said Professor Paradise. “The group is very interested in carrying on the service aspects of SPURS, both on campus and in the community, and it will continue with the cake-baking fundraisers!” 

Puget Sound’s SPURS records and memorabilia will go to the UPS archives. National-related records will go to the archives at Montana State in Bozeman.