> Ceremony Guidelines & Information

Ceremony Guidelines & Information

Guidelines for Conducting a New ESD Member Initiation Ceremony

An initiation ceremony for new members of Eta Sigma Delta should be held at least once during the academic year. It is a time to recognize and honor those students who have met the requirements for membership, as well as existing members from academia and industry. Eta Sigma Delta is a professional honor society and this should remain the prominent theme throughout the ceremony.


Three important factors to consider when choosing a location for initiation ceremony are; (1) the size of the audience expected to attend; (2) any special requirements if a banquet and /or a reception is to be included as a part of the initiation ceremony and; (3) accessibility for quest. A small auditorium or function room in a student center or location hotel is an ideal place for the initiation ceremony. Eta Sigma Delta chapters are generally discouraged from conducting initiation ceremonies in classrooms because typical classroom facilities do little to enhance the significance of the ceremony.


Try to select a time that will be convenient for industry professionals, student, faculty, administrators and perhaps even parent of the inductees to attend. Be sure to consult all honored guest and speakers before finalizing the time and date for the initiation ceremony. It is a good idea to confirm all details in writing with the speakers and honored guest as precaution against any misunderstanding or scheduling conflicts that may arise later.

Certificates and Pins

Upon receipt of completed application forms and the necessary initiation fees, the International CHRIE office will provide personalized membership certificates, honor cords, and membership pins for new students inductees and any honorary member to be inducted.

Room Arrangement

It is recommended that a banquet table, draped in the society colors of blue and white, be located at the front of the room. It should be large enough to display the membership certificates, membership pins, a tabletop podium and perhaps a floral arrangement. Some Eta Sigma Delta chapters have established a tradition of presenting corsages and boutonnieres to inductees at the time they receive their certificates. Ladies often receive a white rose with a blue bow while gentlemen receive a white carnation. To enhance the appearance of the initiation table, corsages and boutonnieres should also be displayed if they are to be presented as part of the ceremony. If available, a banner or other large reproduction of the Eta Sigma Delta logo should be displayed in a prominent place in the room.

Initiation Ceremony

While in keeping with the nature of a professional honor society, the ESD initiation ceremony should be distinguished and honorable. At the same time, much attention should also be given to planning a program that will be lively and interesting. The ESD Chapter President should be designated as the program director. He/she—along with the ESD Faculty Adviser—will be responsible for planning the program, inviting the guest speaker, and selecting five (5) chapter members to speak on the matters of honor as described later.

Order of Business

The ceremony is brought to order by the ESD Chapter President, who welcomes all invited guests, announces the order of business for the induction ceremony, and introduces the guest and student speakers. After this brief introduction, the program is handed over to the ESD Chapter Faculty Advisor who gives an overview of Eta Sigma Delta, its purpose and any projects undertaken by the chapter during the year. The Chapter President then introduces the student speakers and their respective topic.

The student speakers play an important role in the ESD initiation ceremony. Each student speaker delivers a brief speech on one of the Five Points or Honor.

Some chapters have a candle lighting ceremony that occurs in conjunction with the student speeches. After each speech, the student comes forward and lights a candle on the head table.

  • Excellence: We light this candle to represent our continuous pursuit of Excellence in all we do. Through the quest for Excellence, we pledge to uphold high standards for both academic and professional achievement. This candle shines for Excellence.
  • Leadership: We light this candle as a hallmark of Leadership. A leader is like a light held high that brightens the way for others. Let us each pledge that in our personal and professional relationships, we will demonstrate the qualities of Leadership. This candle shines for Leadership.
  • Creativity: We light this candle in recognition of Creativity. We realize that our ability to think creatively will affect the future of our professions. Our innovation will lead to better decisions and outcomes. This light shines for Creativity.
  • Service: We light this candle to acknowledge the importance of Service. After all, it is Service that makes the hospitality industry unique. May our concern for others help promote our professional success and inspire us to lead lives of Service. This candle shines for Service.
  • Ethics: We light this final candle to establish the commitment we have to Ethics. The consideration of Ethics guides our personal and professional decision-making. May this final candle brilliantly light the way for each of us throughout our lives. This candle shines for Ethics.

The featured guest speaker follows. Ideally, this person should be an alumni member or an honorary member of Eta Sigma Delta. The topic of the speech should be one that is stimulating; offering various viewpoints and their potential effects on the industry, the member of the chapter, and the general public.

The Eta Sigma Delta Oath is then administered by the Chapter President, followed by the presentation of the official membership certificates and membership pins. The students proceed individually (in alphabetical order) to the stage/podium where they receive their membership certificate, membership pin, and corsage (if being presented).


I, _________________________, pledge to uphold the high standards for scholastic and professional achievements established by Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society. I am committed to fostering the growth of knowledge and promoting the advancement of both the hospitality/ tourism discipline and the industry.

Following congratulatory remarks by the Chapter President and the Dean of the College (if able to attend), the Chapter President makes any final remark and then closes the initiation ceremony.

Other Options To Consider

  • Have a photographer on hand to take pictures of the ceremony and the new initiates. Photographs can be useful for promotion and recognition in campus newspapers, annuals, school catalogs, etc. Copies can also be sent to Eta Sigma Delta’s International headquarters for use in trade journals, newsletters, etc.
  • Invite a reporter from the school newspaper or a local newspaper to cover the ESD initiation ceremony.


Printed, formal invitations are the most appropriate. It is suggested that formal invitations be sent well in advance of the initiation ceremony to increase attendance. A sample format for an invitation is provided below. Invitations should be mailed to local industry professionals, alumni and current student members, administrators, faculty and all new inductees. Students eligible for initiation should not receive an invitation until they have been accepted for membership by Eta Sigma Delta’s headquarters at International CHRIE. Click here for sample invitation.

Suggested Order of Business for a New ESD Member Initiation Ceremony

  • Call to Order of Chapter President
  • Offers welcome; calls initiation ceremony to order; thanks guest for attending; describe order of business for initiation ceremony; and introduces all guest speakers, student speakers and distinguished guests.
  • Invocation (if a meal function is to be served) by Invited Speakers or Designated Guest
  • The Invocation should be following immediately by the meal service. This needs to be effectively communicated with the kitchen.
  • Overview of Eta Sigma Delta by Faculty Advisor
  • Offer congratulations; recounts the history of the society; notes that it was a group of students from the University of New Hampshire who in 1978 identified the need to recognize scholarship, service, professionalism and leadership among hospitality/ & tourism students; list criteria for the students and honorary membership; cites the importance of the society as a symbol of industry sophistication, growth and professionalism; and outlines chapter goals and projects (if applicable).
  • Introduction of Student Speakers by Chapter President
  • Student presentations on the Matters of Honor: Leadership; Creativity; Personal Development; Communication; and Service
  • Introduction of The Guest Speaker
  • Initiation of New ESD Members by Chapter President
  • Administer the oath; present individual certificates, honor cords, pins and (if applicable) corsages or boutonnieres; and leads the applause after the last new member has been initiated.
    I, ______________________, pledge to uphold the high standards for scholastic and professional achievements established by Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Management Society. I am committed to fostering the growth of knowledge and promoting the advancement of both the hospitality/ tourism discipline and the industry.
  • Remarks by University President, Dean of school, Academic Dean or Appropriate Representative
  • Offers congratulations; cites the importance of scholarship; and salutes the Hospitality & Tourism program.
  • Closing Remarks by ESD Chapter President
  • Delivers charge to the new members to be active, involved in Society; outlines anticipated projects; thanks everyone for coming; and closes the ceremony or adjourns to the reception (if applicable).
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