Phi Beta Delta Awards International Spirit Awards

Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society welcomed 15 new members to Ramapo’s Zeta Zeta chapter on March 22. During the ceremony, two students, Michael Pacheco and Rajat Sainju, were awarded the Roukema Center for International Education’s International Spirit Awards for 2017.

Phi Beta Delta, founded at California State University, Long Beach in 1986, was established as an organization in 1987 with 38 chartered chapters, many of which had existed for a considerable time previously at the local level. It is the first honor society dedicated to recognizing scholarly achievement in international education.

The name of the organization defines its members and motto from what the combination of individual words mean. Phi (philomatheia) stands for the love of knowledge, Beta (biotremmonia) for the value of human life and Delta (diapheren) for achieving excellence.

The colors chosen for the logo of the society were red and gold. Red symbolizes the strength and diversity of humankind and gold symbolizes the sun from which people of all cultures draw strength and life.

Ramapo’s Phi Beta Delta Honor Society recognizes academic excellence of its members who exemplify the international education pillar of Ramapo College, whether through study abroad programs, work/internships abroad, as an international student or scholar or as faculty with scholarly achievements related to international themes. The chapter is a focal point for international exchange and mobility, as well as a venue for internationally-focused academic work. During the event, international business professor, Dr. William Frech, talked about the importance of international travel in the student’s education and in life.

The first International Spirit Award recipient, Michael Pacheco, is a senior at Ramapo and a traveler who has already been to six countries, including Germany, Austria, Italy, Portugal, Canada and India. Last year, he participated in a semester study abroad program hosted by Ramapo College in India where he learned about sustainable development, media and its influence on shaping perspectives of the younger generation. The participants of the program were taken to Auroville, an intentional community with the desire to create complete harmony between its residents and the environment. Pacheco took numerous photos while in India and recently decided to put them up for exhibit to share his experiences with the Ramapo community. Some of the photos are currently up for display in the Roukema Center.

“I am very proud to have received​ the International Spirit Award. I've been an advocate for the India Study Abroad Program since I got back on campus. I want students and faculty to understand the value of the program and the impact it can have on one's life,” said Pacheco.

The second International Spirit Award recipient, Rajat Sainju, is an international student from Nepal. A junior majoring in engineering physics, Sainju has been on the Dean’s List every semester and has been involved in researching and developing on 3D-printed prosthetic arms with his professors. After the disastrous earthquake in Nepal in 2015, Sainju initiated a fundraising campaign at Ramapo and the money raised was donated to help build Ramapo Learning Center in one of the remote villages of Nepal. Currently the Student Government Association Senate Vice President and former Secretary of Academic Affairs, Sainju has been heavily involved on campus and was also the President of International Student Organization. Rajesh Adhikari, the Director of International Student and Scholar Services, awarded Sainju with the award.

“Rajat has constantly worked with other students to spread the understanding of foreign cultures and international education through a variety of different events. He has been able to influence younger peers and mentor incoming international students on how they can become active citizens of our community and campus,” said Adhikari.

Ramapo encourages all students to participate in international programs and scholarship to gain pragmatic international understanding and diversity of perspectives, so that they become informed, global citizens. There are multiple opportunities organized by the Roukema Center. Details can be found on the study-abroad website. For questions, email, call ext. 7533, or stop by ASB-123.