As they sat in meetings on Thursday after being invited by friends and colleagues, 31 unsuspecting University of Miami students and faculty members heard the banging of a tribal drum as the prestigious honor society Iron Arrow approached them to tap them into their ranks. Inductees were taken to the Iron Arrow mound by the Foote Green and later to the Rock. Inductees’ foreheads were marked with three lines of green, orange and white paint before they participated in a 24-hour drum vigil, taking turns rhythmically beating a drum and stoking fires on the Iron Arrow mound.
Considered the highest attainable honor at UM, the society inducts those who have shown exemplary leadership, love for the alma mater, great character, good scholarship and humility. All inductees are nominated by a member of Iron Arrow and are approved by the rest of the tribe.
Junior Aalekhya Reddam was the first undergraduate student to be tapped in on Thursday. Reddam has shown leadership as the Student Government executive at large-internal, organizing the Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO) and also working as a residential assistant in Stanford Residential College.
“This still feels like a dream. For the longest time I’ve admired all the people who have been part of this organization and being selected feels very surreal,” Reddam said. “Being the first to be tapped in meant I could see everyone else get tapped and re-experience the emotions I felt all over again – their happiness and shock of being inducted.”
Heather Stevens, the advisor to Student Government and coordinator in the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs, organized a meeting with an unaware Reddam.
“While it is an honor and privilege to be a part of Iron Arrow, I was a part of the different organizations because I loved it,” Reddam said. “Being tapped doesn’t change anything and I will continue to give my 100 percent to any role I commit and will continue to love UM.”
Among the other 30 people tapped in were the School of Communication Department Chair and Associate Professor Samuel Terilli, Student Government Treasurer-elect Morgan Owens, Energy and Conservation Organization (ECO) Chair Nika Hosseini, Student Government Elections Commission Chair Aqeel Khanani and Student Government Speaker of the Senate Jeffrey Sznapstajler.
“I’m so happy and it feels great,” Sznapstajler said. “I have worked so hard for this campus these past four years and being tapped into Iron Arrow is a great honor to go along with it.”
The new members will don their colorful Iron Arrow jackets for the next two weeks while on campus to honor what they have accomplished.
Iron Arrow was founded at UM in 1926 by nine members dubbed the “Founding Nine.” The mantra they created still serves as a guiding statement to who is deemed worthy to be part of the tribe:
“[S]he, who would know the Arrow, must as an irrefutable rule, have openly and without thought of reward, shown obvious love of Alma Mater.”
The list of the 31 inductees were provided by Johann Ali, who is part of the Iron Arrow Council of Elders.
Sophie Braga de Barros
David T. Poole
Samuel A. Terilli
Albert J. Varon