With the start of the new school year, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga chapter of SALUTE—the first national academic honor society established for student veterans and active military—is looking to grow its membership corps.
Formed in 2009 by the Colorado State University Veterans Office, SALUTE (Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute and Excellence), membership has over 350 chapters across the United States and has inducted more than 17,000 student veterans.
Starting in March 2019, the UTC chapter began actively seeking members for SALUTE, said Squoia Holmes, assistant director for Veteran Student Services and the campus SALUTE chapter director. Sixteen student members have been inducted since the chapter’s activation at UTC, and Holmes stresses the impact that membership in a national honor society can have.
“I feel that if you can put that you are part of a national honor society on your resume or your portfolio, it shows that you’ve achieved at a higher level than your peers at an institution,” Holmes said. “And this program allows you to be a part of the only student veteran honor society that exists nationwide.”
SALUTE is available to degree-seeking students who are active-duty or have received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or National Guard. Undergraduate students must have completed 12 credit hours with a minimum 3.0 GPA, while graduate students must have at least a 3.50 GPA and nine credit hours completed.
One special element of the society includes a four-tier grade system in SALUTE, ranging from Delta (3.0 to 3.24) to Alpha (3.75 to 4.0), which is designed to encourage undergraduate student veterans to strive to improve their GPAs and advance to higher tier levels.
“I like the fact that it has military verbiage associated with the tiers, like Delta, Charlie, Bravo and Alpha. That’s common terminology that veterans use,” Holmes said. “For instance, if a 3.0 student gets inducted and improves their GPA over time, they can move up to different tiers.”
Another benefit is that SALUTE has a minimal, single-time fee of $35, she noted.
“They made it very cheap,” she said. “With most honor societies, you have to pay continuously to be involved.”
Starting this semester, UTC faculty and staff are eligible to join SALUTE as professional members, Holmes said. The lifetime membership fee is $100.
“They can take advantage of some of the same perks students can take advantage of, and being a part of this honor society will allow them to connect with students,” Holmes said. “We hope that they will continue supporting their veteran peers in the civilian world.”