Students in the John V. Roach Honors College will have access to new volunteer opportunities this semester with the recent addition of the Honors College Community Service program.
The HCCS will consist of multiple volunteer committees for students to pick and choose from, with each committee focused on a different outreach program throughout the year.
Founders of the program kicked off the semester with a pizza party for prospective members in Milton Daniel Hall on Aug. 25.
Allie Smith, a senior political science major in the Honors College who helped create the program, said she and the other officers designed HCCS to create a stronger sense of community among students both in the Honors College and in Milton Daniel Hall.
“We really wanted to make the freshman class feel like they were part of the community and to bring in the upperclassmen and to have an actual program for the Honors College,” she said.
Smith said HCCS’s founders also wanted the program to reflect the university’s recent decision to change the Honors Program to the Honors College last fall.
Ronald Pitcock, director of prestigious scholarships for the Honors College, said he believed that students will continue to take initiative in the Honors College and create more programs such as the HCCS.
“Currently, this is the only student-led honors initiative to reach such a grand scale,” Pitcock said. “When those initiatives speak to mission statements of TCU and the Honors College, we look for ways to support them.”
Pitcock said he applauded Smith’s effort to initiate a selfless atmosphere in the Honors College.
“Allie had participated in meaningful service as a high school student and saw the opportunity, with the opening of Milton Daniel honors house, to help build a community dedicated to service,” Pitcock said. “We are very excited about the group’s plans, as well as the incredible student response.”
Smith, who leads one of the six volunteer opportunities, said she tried to design the program to be flexible with the busy schedule of honors students.
“I think that establishing a habit of volunteering is essential, especially when we’re young and enthusiastic about social change, and I think that the easier you make things like this for college students, the more likely they are to actually go out and volunteer,” Smith said.
To determine student interest, Smith said she and her fellow officers conducted surveys during the summer to see where the student demand would be in terms of service projects and opted to wait until the start of the semester to fully commit to a large number of volunteer opportunities.
“We had a great turn out, we’re really pleased,” she said. “We really hope that it’ll become a big part of the Honors College and that the freshmen now will take leadership as they get older.”
To promote flexibility, the organization will offer six different volunteer opportunities, such as after school mentorships with the Boys and Girls Club led by Smith, environmental awareness with the River Legacy Living Science Center, Habitat for Humanity, Boo at the Zoo and work with the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Freshman nursing major Laura Posluszny said she was eager to join to reach out to others as well as meet fellow honors students.
“College is about not only learning in the classroom, but building yourself as a person, and community service is a great way to do that,” Posluszny said. “I hope to gain friendship with other honors students and a humbling perspective.”
Smith said she hoped that the students who joined the program would gain an understanding of reality by embracing the opportunities and would continue the organization.
“I think it is absolutely essential to get off of the TCU campus and get away from the bubble of college life and remember that there is a real world out there that needs our help,” Smith said. “The real world is not just jobs that you’re going to have to suddenly wake up for when you graduate, and hopefully they’ll want to keep volunteering.”