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A common bond.

While some college fraternity hopefuls have to endure challenging pledging practices to gain acceptance into the organization, the only membership requirement for one international fraternity is the desire to one day work in the insurance industry.

College academic fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma, which began more than lour decades ago at Ohio State University, is dedicated to promoting, exchanging and sustaining students' interest in insurance, risk management and actuarial science.

"Our students are very unique, not only because they've chosen to major in these areas but often they are a double major, nontraditional student put- ~~ ting themselves through school or are changing careers, which shows their dedication to the industry," said Gamma Iota Sigma executive director Noelle Codispoti.

She has been a member of the organization's executive committee of the Board of Trustees since 2004 and is a former officer of Temple University's Sigma Chapter.

In 1965, the nonprofit Griffith Foundation for Insurance Education filed to incorporate the first Gamma Iota Sigma chapter. The following year, The Ohio State University Insurance Society petitioned and was chartered as the Alpha Charter. In 1991, Gamma Iota Sigma "spun away from the Griffith Foundation to become a stand-alone organization because of the difference in our missions," Codispoti said. "They arc focused more on promoting insurance education to policymakers and to students in K through 12. Our mission is based on developing college students to enter the industry as working, ready professionals."

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That task is accomplished by offering students the opportunity to interact and network with insurance industry representatives via guest speakers, field trips, volunteer services and social events. Members also receive sponsored conference attendance, resume review, and scholarship and internship opportunities.

"One key component we emphasize with our chapters is the opportunity to have members get involved in planning and organizing chapter events," she said. "'Students bring in speakers to enhance their professional and educational development. Those activities help build leadership, teamwork and group skills necessary for entering the real world."

Today, Gamma Iota Sigma has 53 chapters across the United States and Canada. That number will grow this month when the Beta Zeta chapter is chartered at the

University of North Texas. Codispoti said the fraternity reached its 1,500-member mark in 2011, up from about 1,200 the prior year. It also has more than 15,000 alumni since its inception.

Community service is a big part of what Gamma Iota Sigma promotes nationally, she said. Over the years, chapters have participated in local walk-a-thons to benefit organizations such as the American Red Cross and United Way. In 2010, 10 chapters participated in the first annual GIS Bleeds Black and Gold Blood Drive.

Codispoti said the fraternity's future is focused on building communal relationships within the industry. "One thing that always surprises me when attending industry conferences is that people don't know we exist and they aren't aware that students can actually study insurance and risk management in college. Our students and professors are experts in getting people excited about careers in the industry. They have 100% placement of their students."

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Title Annotation:The Last Word: Collegiate fraternity Gamma Iota Sigma is preparing tomorrow's insurers, risk managers and actuaries.
Author:Chordas, Lori
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2012
Words:513
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