The Honors Student Association (HSA) is the campus organization designed for and managed by Honors students. Typically, HSA meets once a month in the Collaborative Learning Center located on the second floor of Edens Library.
In addition to monthly meetings and annual attendance at both the national and regional Honors Council conferences, members of HSA participate in various HSA sponsored events throughout the year. Past and future events are listed below:
First-Year Honors Orientation: Designed completely by current Honors students, orientation is the foundation and debut to the Honors program. Students are able to move onto campus three days before the other students and participate in a number of bonding experiences, summer reading discussions, and on and off campus activities.
HSA Kick-Off Social: To welcome back returning students and integrate new students, a kick-off social is combined with the first meeting of the semester to highlight upcoming events.
'Leaders and Literary Figures' Halloween Social: Co-sponsored with the English Majors Society, this annual favorite is open to the entire campus. Students are encouraged to dress as a historical leader or literary figure and then have one minute to decribe to a faculty panel of judges, in character, who they are. The costume contest and a book walk both yield prizes. Halloween treats top it off!
Thanksgiving Potluck: HSA students each bring a homemade dish to share and celebrate a season of thanks. This event allows for a break in classes and studies to enjoy with fellow Honors students.
Death by Chocolate: A favorite event for HSA members is "Death by Chocolate." This social is held at the end of each fall semester and allows members the opportunity to de-stress while enjoying the company of colleagues. The festive environment includes chocolate in a variety of offerings, including the ever popular fondue chocolate. Other refreshments accompany the chocolate.
Monthly Activities: To reward students throughout the semester for their hard work participating in service projects and fundraising, HSA hosts an activity to celebrate. Some of the past ventures have included going rock climbing, a trip to the zoo, an afternoon of board games and baked goods, and laser tag, among others.
Movie Day (or Night): HSA routinely treats a limited number of members to a free movie. Often mainstream, the film chosen has educational, intellectual, and entertainment value. Students attend movies such as Mon Meilleur Ami (My Best Friend), which was shown at the Nickelodeon Theatre, and Slumdog Millionaire after its Academy Award win. The film is usually voted on by HSA students.
Faculty Talks: Come listen to Columbia College faculty present on their endeavors outside of the classroom. Discuss U.S. Reconstruction with Dr. Rubin or hear Dr. Howard talk about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings (both of which are subjects of classes here at CC!), or her book on St. Augustine!
Global Issues Awareness Day/Save Darfur Week: In conjunction with the Student Government Association (SGA), the HSA sponsored Save Darfur Week. HSA contributed an exhibit on genocides that have occurred in the last several decades. This exhibit highlighted past conflicts and raised awareness of global catastrophes and their consequences.
To help the Columbia community, HSA holds various service projects each semester.
An annual project is tying blankets for premature babies born in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital during Honors Orientation. (No prior knowledge of quilting or sewing is required.)
HSA students have also made valentines for the children at the Epworth Children's Home and spent the afternoon of Valentine's Day with the kids, assembled first aid kits for the Columbia Family Shelter for homeless families and personally delivered them, made a "hope" patchwork quilt for the battered women at the Killingsworth Home and spent an afternoon hearing their stories, and helped to repair the houses of local underprivileged homeowners through Project HomeWorks.
Project Hair Care: A project intended to raise awareness of women's health concerns, particularly cancer. This year-long event is initiated by HSA, and it involves the Columbia College community and city residents. The debut occurred on April 28, 2008,when participants received free cuts and styles for donating their hair to the "Pantene Beautiful Lengths" program.This event received media recognition on WIS-TV and in Columbia's newspaper, "The State." HSA repeated this service project during the 2009-2010 academic year on Monday, April 5, 2010 and in the Spring of 2012.
½ and ½ Drawing: As a Ludy Bowl and Follies tradition, the lucky winner of this drawing receives half of the proceeds donated, and the HSA receives the other half of the drawing's proceeds.
Student Silent Art Auction: Held each year on Alumnae Weekend, the HSA Student Art Auction rasies money for student artists and HSA.This year's event was the most successful auction yet.
Basket Drawings: Occasionally, a themed basket filled with goodies will be auctioned off for $1. These fundraisers are open to all of campus and have always been extremely successful.
Ink Cartridge Drive: This project is easy and ongoing. Ink cartridges from all over campus–including student rooms, offices, and computer labs– are recycled to help save the Earth's environment and fund future HSA events.
When not gathering in person, HSA students stay connected through a Facebook group.
Below are a few student testimonies about their experience in the honors program thus far:
Although I have just recently joined the program, honors is already changing the way I think about learning. I quite enjoy the collaborative learning with my classmates away from the traditional, linear ways of learning. My favorite part about honors is learning how to make connections. I am now able to connect what I learn in science, music, and my other English classes to my English honors class. I feel like I am learning not only the required material for a class but "how to really learn". I am very much looking forward to gaining more experience and to taking advantage of all the resources provided by the program. ~Iman Abu Aitah ('16)
Honors has given me the chance to attend classes where everyone was fully engaged and excited to share their ideas and thoughts. Although I had my doubts that I would succeed in the Honors Program when I first entered college, I soon realized that my peers were other motivated women who wanted to make the most of their college education. ~Stephanie Macomber ('13)
I would have to say that the Honors Program is a way to grow as a person and a life-long learner through the multitudes of resources and opportunities. From conferences to the honors community, I value my experiences in honors as they have helped me to grow as a student, professional, and person. The events, conferences, and classes are my favorite parts of the program in which all honors students should take part. ~Lindsey Hernandez ('14)
The Honors Program at Columbia College is absolutely amazing because of the small group interactions that are available in the classes that are offered. I find that my favorite classes have been honors classes because they challenge me to think outside the box and allow me to learn from my peers who are often knowledgeable and well versed. I enjoy the fact that honors students are not afraid to ask questions because they genuinely want to learn, and those questions often lead to fascinating class discussions that open up a whole new realm of possibilities for learning. The active learning environment and the close friendships that are made in the honors classes are some things that I value a lot, and I know that being in the Honors Program has made me a better student. ~Carla Teixeira ('15)
The Columbia College Honors Program has proven to be one of the best decisions of my college career. In the Honors Program I have found a caring community of intellects and found a better understanding of myself. Plus, I get to take some of the most interesting and stimulating classes of my college career. ~Autumn Weidman ('15)
My honors experience has been the highlight of my college career. Each of my honors classes has challenged me to think deeper and to apply the knowledge I gain in the classroom to activities in the greater Columbia community. Through the Honors Program I have had opportunities to attend and present at national conferences, implement projects that make a difference in the community, and enhance my learning by studying abroad in Germany and Northern Ireland. The Columbia College Honors Program has taken me on a grand journey of learning more about myself and who I am. I can't imagine life without it! ~Sarah Williams ('14)
To read more student testimonies click here.