The Illinois College of Optometry offers a rich experience beyond the classroom and clinic by supporting a variety of organizations, clubs and activities. Below is a sampling of many of the organizations; please note that this list is not comprehensive and new clubs emerge periodically.
All students enrolled at ICO members of the SA. Functioning in cooperation with the college administration, SA considers matters concerning student welfare and monitors a wide variety of student activities and publications. The SA president and board of directors are elected by a school-wide ballot, and serve as the official representatives of the student body on all matters. The board includes representatives from every class as well as officers elected to perform specific functions.
Tomb & Key Honor Society
Founded in 1934 to recognize academic excellence and to promote ethics within the field of optometry, Tomb & Key is ICO’s highest academic honor organization. Students eligible for membership during their second year if they achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher.
Beta Sigma Kappa Honor Society
This honorary society enlists students who have excellent academic records and who wish to serve the college and community.
Gold Key International Optometric Honor Society
This honorary society recognizes upperclassmen who have demonstrated outstanding professional and ethical attitudes through leadership in their class, college and profession. Membership consists of five percent of the third year class and ten percent of the fourth year class. All candidates are chosen for lifetime membership.
ICO Omega Leo Club
The Omega Leo Club is a service organization with a focus on enhancing the local community and promoting widespread community service through Lions Club International.
Council on Ethics and Advancement of Professionalism
This club is dedicated to the principle that the public derives the greatest benefit from ethical, professional optometric care. To further this idea, the council invites eminent guest speakers who can offer information and guidance about professional optometry. Membership is open to all students.
American Optometric Student Association
The student branch of the American Optometric Association, AOSA includes students representing all of the schools of optometry in the US and Canada. Each institution elects a student trustee to represent its students at all AOSA functions. This organization represents student concerns to other optometric groups including the AOA and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry. AOSA dues for ICO students are paid each year by the SA from student activity fees.
Collegiate and Educational Society of the Illinois Optometric Association
An affiliate of the Illinois Optometric Association, the CESIOA helps students secure part-time employment with professional optometrists in Illinois, and assists graduates in locating solo and associate practice opportunities. CESIOA members are eligible to join any of the 45 state committees and may participate in all civic, legal and professional aspects of Illinois optometry. The CESIOA welcomes residents of all states to join its ranks and participate in Illinois events.
State and International Clubs
The student body at ICO hails from all states and many foreign countries. When there is sufficient interest, students from various states and countries often organize informal groups, naming the clubs after their home state or country. A club will often sponsor visits and presentations by optometrists from it respective state or country to discuss current practice issues particular to that location.
Canadian Students Association
Canadians comprise approximately 20 percent of ICO’s student body. The Canadian Students Association provides an opportunity for Canadian students to meet and discuss topics ranging from financial aid to life in Chicago. Additionally, the group strives to maintain an awareness of optometry in Canada by examining changes to the profession in each of the individual provinces.
Private Practice Club
The Private Practice Club was established to help prepare students to enter private practice by making them more knowledgeable of the business aspects of the profession. On a monthly basis, the club offers presentations, lectures and panel discussions concerning all facets of practice management . The presenters include a variety of nationally known speakers, optometrists, and other professionals. Sample topics include associating with a doctor, practice acquisition, practice management, finance and marketing.
Student Volunteer Optometric Service to Humanity
The student branch of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity, SVOSH is an independent charitable organization whose objective is to provide vision care to foreign and domestic people who do not have access to professional vision care. Student volunteers for this independent organization accompany a practicing OD and other healthcare professionals on mission trips to examine local residents and distribute eye glasses free of charge. Medical referrals are made when needed. Students go on multiple missions each year; recent missions include trips to Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Morocco.
Cornea & Contact Lens Society
The Cornea & Contact Lens Society serves to expand the knowledge of contact lens care and management of anterior segment disease among students, while also familiarizing students with advances in optometric health and the availability of products available to assist in improving patient care.
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
COVD is an organization devoted to the enhancement and rehabilitation of vision and vision development. In addition, COVD works towards educating the public on the benefits of vision therapy.
Fellowship of Christian Optometrists
FCO seeks to help optometrists further the Gospel of Jesus Christ both in the workplace and through mission trips. Recent mission trip destinations include Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. FCO meets weekly for fellowship, prayer, snacks, and Bible study. Members also participate in frequent service outings.
Muslim Students Organization
The MSA seeks to facilitate better networking and communication in the community, as well as help others through community service events and fundraisers.
National Optometric Student Association
The NOSA is the student branch of the National Optometric Association, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of minority optometrists. The NOSA also aims advance the visual health of minority populations. The NOSA at ICO is involved in a variety of activities oriented toward educating youth about optometry, increasing awareness of and interest in the profession, and helping underserved populations in need of eye care.
The cultural diversity at ICO has increased exponentially over the past several decades. As a result, the MA is organized to promote the understanding of the diverse cultures within the ICO and IEI communities.