Activities and Organizations

Orientation Program

The Dean of Students and a student committee plan orientation activities each year. The schedule, which runs for several days before the college opens in the fall, includes social events, academic orientation, and information on all aspects of Sewanee life. Dining with the faculty advisor, signing the Honor Code, attending the induction of new students, and participating in a discussion of the summer reading are among the highlights of orientation. Through these activities, students and parents become familiar with the Sewanee community, upperclassmen, and faculty members. Before orientation begins, the Sewanee Outing Program offers an optional pre-orientation, popularly known as the PRE. During the PRE, students have the opportunity to try different outdoor activities including camping, climbing, caving, hiking, community service, and a ropes course, all of which are available on the Domain.

Bishop's Common

The Bishop's Common, known as the BC, is a center of extracurricular activity. It contains the Student Post Office (SPO), the Tiger Bay Pub, lounges, conference rooms, a photographic darkroom, games, and student organization offices. The Niles Trammell Communications Center on the upper level houses WUTS, the University's student-operated radio station. Most offices of the deans of students are also in the BC.

Sewanee Outing Program

The Sewanee Outing Program (SOP) promotes outdoor activities both on and off the Mountain. Canoeing, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, caving, mountain biking, cycling, and skiing trips are all arranged through the SOP office throughout the year. Trips are conducted for various skill levels. Equipment may be loaned out for student use.

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The Bike Shop is a self-help repair facility staffed by students for minor repairs and maintenance. Arrangements can be made to have bikes worked on or to get help in learning bike repair. The shop is located in the lower level of the Bairnwick Women's Center on Mississippi Avenue.

Over 50 miles of trails exist on the university campus. The twenty-mile Perimeter Trail is a marked and maintained multiple-use path that follows the bluffs around campus and occasionally dips down into the hollows. The trail is open to foot travel with certain sections available for mountain biking. Secondary trails and dirt fire lanes make up another great way to explore the woods on campus and are used by hikers, runners, and mountain bikers. Horse riders are only allowed on firelanes.

The Bouldering Wall is a great new addition to the activities offered by the SOP. This indoor bouldering wall is 60 feet long and 12 feet high and is located in the Fowler Center. It has permanent padding in place allowing for students, faculty, and staff to learn how to boulder or hone their skills.

Sewanee Emergency Medical Service

SEMS is Tennessee's only volunteer emergency medical service. The ambulance is staffed by college students and community members.

Sewanee Fire Department

The Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department consists of both students and members of the community. Freshmen wishing to serve on the Department take a class second semester and then try out for the six student positions in each class.  Weekly drills and weekend training in specialties such as vehicle extrication and high angle rescue are expected of these dedicated volunteers.  Student firefighters live together in Wiggins Hall next to the fire station.

Honor and Recognition Societies

The following honor and recognition societies have active chapters at the University.

Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 and the nation's oldest honor society, promotes the values of the liberal arts and sciences by inducting into membership the most outstanding arts and sciences students in the nation's leading colleges and universities, and by advocating academic excellence, freedom of inquiry and expression, informed deliberation and understanding, and active engagement with important issues. The University's Phi Beta Kappa Chapter, Beta of Tennessee, was installed in 1926. Students are eligible for election to the Society after five consecutive semesters.

Omicron Delta Kappa, Alpha Alpha Chapter, is a national leadership society. It chooses members from the Order of Gownsmen who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, athletics, or publications.

Pi Sigma Alpha, Gamma Sigma Chapter, is the national political science honor society that encourages intellectual interest and action in government. The chapter sponsors occasional lectures and events related to political science during the course of the year.

Sigma Pi Sigma, the national physics honor society, accepts members from physics and related fields who attain high standards of scholarship, professional merit, and academic distinction.

Omicron Delta Epsilon, Gamma Chapter of Tennessee, is the national honor society of economics. Students with outstanding records in economics are selected for membership.

Sigma Delta Pi, Kappa Chapter, is the national Spanish honor society. Members are elected based on academic merit and interest in Hispanic culture.

Alpha Epsilon Delta, Tennessee Epsilon Chapter, is the national premedical honor society. It rewards excellence in premedical scholarship. Associate members are welcome from all the pre-health professions, including premedical, predentistry, prenursing, and preveterinary fields. Members are elected from junior and senior associate members.

Phi Alpha Theta, Alpha Delta Gamma Chapter, is the national history honor society. Members are elected based on the study, teaching, or writing of history.

Delta Phi Alpha is the national German honor and recognition society. Members are elected based on academic merit and interest in Germanic culture.

Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to students who have distinguished themselves in scholarship and are majoring or minoring in psychology or a program that is psychological in nature.

Social Organizations

The variety of social organizations allows students to find a place to share their interests. Organizations sponsor events that are open to all. Sewanee's ten national and two local fraternities and one national and eight local sororities provide intellectual and social enrichment. They serve as an outlet for athletic interests through intramural competition, provide a training ground for leadership and fiscal management, and help offset the academic routine with social events. The fraternities and sororities also sponsor the Annual Fall Fest and participate in service projects such as the Red Cross Blood Drive, Big People for Little People, Housing Sewanee, and the School Tutors programs. Annual evaluations assure that their operations meet stated expectations in areas of academic achievement, group citizenship, fiscal management, property maintenance, alumni support, and community service.

Ten national social fraternities have chapters at Sewanee. They are Alpha Tau Omega, Beta Theta Pi, Chi Psi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Delta Tau Delta, Kappa Alpha Order, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Sigma Nu. The Phi Society of 1883 and Gamma Sigma Pi are the local fraternities. Most fraternities maintain a house that is used for meetings, social events, and everyday recreation. There are eight local sororities at Sewanee: Alpha Delta Theta, Alpha Tau Zeta, Gamma Tau Upsilon, Kappa Omega, Phi Kappa Epsilon, Phi Sigma Theta, Theta Kappa Phi, and Theta Pi. Kappa Delta is the only national sorority. The nine sororities each have a dedicated residential house or apartment for meetings and small social events.

The fraternity and sorority rush programs are supervised by the interfraternity and Intersorority Councils and are held at the beginning of the Easter semester. Rush activities are designed to help those who take part become acquainted with all the fraternities and sororities.

The Women's Center Board serves as the primary women's advocacy group on campus and runs the Women's Center at Bairnwick. They promote women's interests through social and educational programs, facility space, leadership opportunities, and an annual Women's Conference.


Service Organizations and Activities

Sewanee students are actively involved in local and global outreach and community engagement through volunteer, internship, and class credit opportunities. The Outreach Office supports the myriad of programs that are sponsored through its office and those of the University’s service network: the Community Engagement House, The Canale and Lilly Internships, Housing Sewanee Inc., CEL (Community Engaged Learning) program, the Social Entrepreneurship program, the Babson Center for Global Commerce, the Education and Environmental Studies Departments, and Alpha Phi Omega, the national service fraternity. Student commitment to social responsibility has always been a large part of the University's history and tradition.

During each academic break, the Outreach Office offers several service projects in various cultural settings. Our goal has been to set locations and continue going to these sites, forging long-term partnerships and developing reciprocal relationships.
◆ Fall Break — four day trip to New Orleans, La.
◆ Christmas Break — 10 day trip to Kingston, Jamaica
◆ Spring Break — Haiti, Ecuador, Costa Rica, New Orleans, New York, Miami
◆ Summer — Indianola, Miss: Southern tour to study culture, blues & jazz music and civil rights

Outreach Office and University service network programs include:

◆ Sewanee AIDS Awareness Association (SAAA)
◆ Babson Center for Global Commerce — micro-loan lending
◆ BACCHUS — drunk driving awareness
◆ Amnesty International — Human rights advocacy
◆ Appalachian Women's Guild — rural women’s empowerment org.
◆ Artisan Connection — global partner art and craft sales
◆ Big People for Little People
◆ Blue Monarch — battered women’s shelter
◆ Break Trips
◆ Canale Internships — local leadership service internships
◆ Cause for Paw — animal shelter assistance
◆ Community Action Committee — food distribution and social support organization
◆ Community Engagement House — student residence that promotes community engagement
◆ Education Department — teacher assistant placement
◆ Environmental Residence — dorm staff
◆ Falling Whistles — Congo war awareness
◆ Farmer’s Market
◆ Folks at Home — assisting senior citizens aging in the home
◆ Girl Scouts
◆ Grundy County Health Association
◆ Heifer Project International — fund raising
◆ Housing Sewanee Inc. — builds affordable low-energy homes
◆ Invisible Children — ending the war in Uganda
◆ MS 150 — cycling fund-raiser for multiple sclerosis
◆ Peace Coalition — student social justice activism
◆ Race for the Cure — Cancer fund-raiser Chattanooga
◆ Senior Citizen's Outreach
◆ Sherwood Community Center
◆ Social Entrepreneurship Program — Economics
◆ Sustain Sewanee — environmental service
◆ Tutoring English as a Second Language
◆ UNEPH Rebuild — The Episcopal University of Port-Au-Prince
◆ Utility Conservation program — local home energy audits
◆ Youth Baseball Coaches, Umpires, and Field Maintenance
◆ Youth Soccer Coaches and Referees
◆ Winchester Chamber of Commerce — interns