The purposes of the society, in the words of the Constitution, are “to develop and promote interest in classical study among the students of colleges and universities; to promote closer fraternal relationship among students who are interested in classical study, including inter-campus relationship; to engage generally in an effort to stimulate interest in classical study, and in the history, art, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome.”
Eta Sigma Phi is the national honorary collegiate society for students of Latin and Greek.
The honorary encourages students to interact with their classmates and professors outside of class. It gives Hillsdale students the chance to compete in Eta Sigma Phi’s national translation exams, in which Hillsdale students have done very well; a number of students have finished within the top three in both the Latin and Greek categories. Through their membership in the society, students may have their papers selected to be presented at regional and national classics conferences, including the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS) and the Society for Classical Studies (SCS), and may win scholarships for summer study abroad.
Students are inducted into the society in the fall and in the spring, and must have at least a B (3.0) average in their classical languages coursework. Students must have completed at least one Greek or Latin course at Hillsdale College before being eligible for induction.
Hillsdale College’s chapter of Eta Sigma Phi promotes interest in and understanding of the Greco-Roman tradition through Latin teaching at a local charter school, reading marathons, invited lectures, and spoken Greek and Latin table. Every semester the members of Eta Sigma Phi staff weekly peer tutoring sessions in Greek and Latin. Other activities the society has hosted include the Homerathon, performances of Roman comedy, the Honorama (a bowling challenge that raises money for Habitat for Humanity), picnics in the park at Baw Beese Lake, movie nights, Latin scrabble, and more.