BYU-Idaho’s history honor society is fairly new, but it’s jam-packed with activities to test and improve knowledge of historical events.

“Phi Alpha Theta is an American honor society for undergraduate, graduate students and professors of history,” says the University of Arizona’s Phi Alpha Theta website. “It’s a professional society whose mission is to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians.”

Phi Alpha Theta is an organization that has branches spreading nationwide. It was established on March 17, 1921, and has more than 400,000 members with new members numbering about 9,000 a year through its 970 chapters, according to the Phi Alpha Theta website.

Phi Alpha Theta’s flyer. Photo credit: Isabel Igwe.
Phi Alpha Theta’s flyer. Photo credit: Isabel Igwe.

“It’s a national honor society and this is just a branch of it,” said Cambri Creager, the president of the club. “But I run the one here on campus.”

There are three positions running in the society: The president and two officers. Cambri Creager is currently the president of the BYU-I society, while Liz Sharp and Savannah Seegmiller are her acting officers. 

Membership requirements include having at least 12 credits of history classes, a 3.1 GPA in them and a 3.0 GPA or higher overall and a $60 fee for entry. Students will then receive a year subscription to the society’s academic journal, The Historian.

“You get a lot of benefits through that,” Creager said. “Students can get access to a lot of scholarship funds. It also looks really good on school applications.”

Every Thursday at 4:15 p.m., the society gets together to ‘Chips and Chat’ in the Thomas E. Ricks Building. This is an informal event where the group discusses plans while snacking on chips and salsa. The school’s alumni are also invited occasionally to speak to students. It is open to anyone. 

“It’s for all history majors,” Seegmiller said. “You don’t have to be an accepted member of Phi Alpha Theta. You just talk with other history majors about classes and stuff. Just a community.”

The club also does academic field trips every semester. This spring, the group is going to visit local historical sights such as The Beaver Dickens, Jenny Lake, Cabin Sight, Andrew Henry’s Fur, Rendezvous and more. 

The group also aims to have a community theme every semester. This semester’s theme is Juneteenth. The group will have a booth in Porter Park where historical figures will be displayed for viewing.

Porter Park, where Rexburg’s Juneteenth celebrations take place. Photo credit: Isabel Igwe.
Porter Park, where Rexburg’s Juneteenth celebrations take place. Photo credit: Isabel Igwe.

There will also be a function called Advanced Research Techniques taught by Adam Luke, a professional researcher here at BYU-I. It is a training meeting teaching effective research skills. It takes place in room 152 of the David O. Mckay Library on June 7 from 6-8 p.m.

The society also hosts occasional movie nights and an end-of-semester party. For more information and updates on BYU-I’s Phi Alpha Theta, see the group’s website.