American Optometric Student Association
The voice of optometry students focused on the policy-making bodies of national optometric organizations.
UIWRSO encourages participation in student organizations and clubs, as an enhancement to the educational, professional and personal growth components. Participation in these recognized student organizations provides opportunities in leadership, self-government, responsibility, special interest development and peer collaboration.
Student Government Association (SGA)
The SGA serves as official representatives regarding student policy and governance recommendations. The SGA serves to enhance communication, providing a valued voice for our optometry students with faculty and administration. SGA representatives collaborate to discuss issues pertinent to the entire UIWRSO student body, and help organize events for the purpose of unifying the student body, including the annual EyeBall.
Active members include: any optometry student in good standing, one faculty advisor, one SGA president, one SGA vice president, and one SGA secretary/treasurer which are 4th year class members, the student Trustee & Trustee-elect of the AOSA, and three voting members from each additional class, as follows: class president, class vice-president, and class secretary/treasurer. SGA members serve for one year; each member is entitled to full privileges of the organization. The SGA meets regularly to discuss issues and review opinions brought forth by representatives, for further action, if indicated.
American Academy of Optometry Student Chapter
The American Academy of Optometry is the major academic and research arm of organized optometry. Offering the most up-to-date clinical continuing education and vision research at the Annual Meeting and with the journal Optometry and Vision Science, the AAO upholds its mission of promoting the art and science of vision care through lifelong learning. Members include students, vision scientists, and ODs of all practice modalities. The majority of Fellows (FAAO) are private practitioners, and 86% are involved in direct patient care. Student membership may be granted to students who are in good academic standing at an accredited school or college of optometry, to full-time students in vision sciences and related sciences, and to residents in accredited optometric residency programs. Benefits include all the Academy publications, and complete access to the Academy Annual Meeting at reduced rate. The RSO Student Chapter strives to increase student membership of the AAO, offer travel grants to students attending the Annual Meeting, facilitate the Academy programs of Student Fellowship and conversion of students to Candidates, and provide opportunities for students to participate in scholarly activity.
American Optometric Student Association (AOSA)
The AOSA is an independent national optometric student organization whose policies and activities are determined by its membership. The AOSA includes students representing all the Schools and College of Optometry in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Its main goals are representation and welfare of optometry students, as well as promoting vision education to the public.
Each optometric institution selects an AOA Trustee & Trustee-Elect as representatives at all AOSA functions. The AOSA Trustee & Trustee-Elect are voting members of our Student Government Association. The AOSA membership dues are supplemented by the Student Activity fees. The AOSA is the voice of optometry students directed to the policy-making bodies of national optometric organizations, such as the American Optometric Association, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry, the Association of Schools and College of Optometry, to name a few. The national AOSA Congress is held annually at one of the optometry schools or college, usually in January.
National Optometric Student Association (NOSA)
The National Optometric Student Association is an organization dedicated to increasing minority representation in Optometry and is a valuable support group for minority students. NOSA chapters frequently conduct screenings in minority communities throughout the year, and represent optometry in health career programs in high schools and colleges.
Student Volunteers in Optometric Service to Humanity (SVOSH)
The charitable organization is dedicated to providing uncompensated eye care and spectacles to needy communities in the United States and other areas of the world, typically Central America, who would not otherwise receive care. Optometry students and optometrists conduct vision care ten-day mission trips, which include vision examinations, dispensing of eyeglasses, and detection, treatment and appropriate referral of ocular pathology.
Annually, SVOSH team members work to collect, inspect, and sort eyeglasses donated by various individuals and organizations, and conduct projects and activities aimed at financing travel expenses. In addition to mission trips abroad, it is anticipated that UIWRSO SVOSH provides eye care to underprivileged in southwest Texas.
Student Country and State Optometric Associations
Student Country/State Optometric Associations function to provide fellowship for students of particular residencies and to act as a liaison between students and the optometric associations. Student associations often maintain close contact with state associations, to provide communication and services for students who wish to practice in a particular state. Currently the Student Optometric Association (STOA) and the Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS) are active associations at UIWRSO.
Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society
The purpose of Gold Key is to recognize upper-class students who have demonstrated outstanding professional and ethical attitudes through leadership in their class, school, and profession. Typically Gold Key membership is restricted to third and fourth year students; no more than 5% of third year and 10% of fourth year students may hold membership. The present student membership of Gold Key is solely responsible for the selection of new members, based upon pre-determined leadership and professional qualities. All selected candidates are chosen for lifetime membership.
Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK)
Beta Sigman Kappa is an international optometric honor society. Founded in 1925 by a small group of optometrists in Illinois, Beta Sigma Kappa now has student chapters in every school and college of optometry in the United States, with two in Canada, and one in Puerto Rico. To be eligible for BSK membership, a student must attain a grade point average of 3.5 in their first professional year, a cumulative GPA of 3.4 in the first two years, and 3.3 cumulative GPA for the first three years and a 3.2 cumulative GPA for all four professional years.
Ambassadors assist in student recruitment, admissions, and public relations functions of UIWRSO. Additionally, Ambassadors can be used by RSO committees for student representation. Ambassadors are selected from members of every active class based upon an application process. The application is coordinated by the Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Faculty Scholarship & Awards Committee. Student Ambassadors serve one year terms.
College of Optometrists In Vision Development (COVD)
The College of Optometrists in Vision Development is an international membership association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students and vision therapists. The mission of COVD is to serve as an advocate for comprehensive vision care emphasizing a developmental and behavioral approach. The RSO chapter is dedicated to encouraging student interested in developmental optometry, facilitating the transition from optometry school to vision therapy residencies and private practice, and promoting community awareness of developmental vision problems.
Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO)
FCO is a student organization, and local chapter of the National FCO, that provides pre-optometry and optometry students with a vehicle for spiritual growth and fellowship. FCO encourages opportunities for students to successfully combine their professional skills with mission work consistent with their Christian faith. Organization's activities may include luncheon seminars with featured speakers, Bible studies, and yearly mission trip for humanitarian purposes.
Sports Vision Association (SVA)
The Sports Vision Association provides opportunities for its student members to gain experience in vision care as it relates to various sports fields. SVA members will provide vision screenings for student-athletes in the San Antonio area, helping to identify athletes who would benefit from visual enhancement or vision therapy. The SVA will also maintain membership with the Sports Vision Section (SVS) of the American Optometric Association, the nation's largest group of students and doctors of optometry, and allied sports professionals, who are dedicated to advancing the quality and delivery of sports vision care through education, eye injury prevention, and enhancement of the visual performance of athletes.
Southeastern Congress of Optometry Students Organization (SECO)
The SECO student organization keeps students from the southeast and students looking to move to the southeast connected with the Southern Council of Optometry. States involved in SoCO and SECO are Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The UIWRSO chapter maintains communication with the SECO International and relations with its student advisory committee, annual convention, and continuing education courses.
Contact Lens Society (CLS)
CLS is dedicated to extending contact lens interest and knowledge among students and thereby improving contact lens patient care. This society is open to third and fourth year professional students and involves seminars, presentations, and invited lecturers regarding updates on lenses, equipment, and clinical care.
Private Practice Club (PPC)
This club is designed to help prepare UIWRSO students for entering private practice by introducing and exposing interested students to the business and practice management aspects of the profession. This club will promote private practice as a career choice and will involve seminars, presentations, and invited lecturers regarding practice management, and a variety of private practice-related topics.
Low Vision and Rehab (LVR)
LVR's primary purpose is to improve our student's academic knowledge of ocular disease, facilitate ongoing development in the areas of low vision care, and to increase recognition of their effect on quality of life. LVR strives to constantly improve as future optometrists and to enhance the delivery, effectiveness, and efficiency of eye and vision care services.
UIW supports the cost of your membership to these key state and national organizations.
State and National Organizations
American Optometric Student Association
American Academy of Optometry Student Chapter
The major academic and research arm of organized optometry provides opportunities for students to participate in scholarly reading, meetings and other activity.
Student Texas Optometric Association
The statewide connection between practicing optometrists, educators, funders, partners and students.