As I write this, we are almost a full year into quarantine and remote learning. Pretty much every aspect of work, school, and life has been upended by the pandemic. While the changes have been challenging, they have also stimulated creative thinking about how to stay connected with each other. I am immensely grateful to all of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have worked so hard to keep the SAS Honors Program community strong.
Academically, students and faculty have continued to create outstanding learning environments in honors classes. In last fall’s Honors Colloquium, we explored stories of race, culture, and identity through the book Tell Me Who You Are by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi. Students took advantage of the virtual environment to explore museums we can’t normally visit, and to collect fascinating stories from individuals around the country and even around the world. In Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars, professors continued to express their enthusiasm for teaching honors students. One said, “Despite Covid, and all the classes being online, this was one of the best honors classes I ever taught.” Another offered this simple but strong praise: “The students in the honors seminar I had this semester were exceptionally good.”
At the same time, SASHP student leaders have continued to create a myriad of opportunities for both professional development and just plain fun. Between events planned by our Virtual Peer Leaders, Student Advisory Board, and Peer Mentor Programming Board, there are way too many to list here! Please check out Instagram (@rusashp and @hpmentor) and the SASHP Newsletter to get a sense of everything that has been happening. Last but certainly not least, honors alumni have continued to be wonderfully generous with their time and energy, fielding questions and offering advice for students who are thinking about how to explore their passions in ways that will prepare them for exciting opportunities after Rutgers.
We of course hope to be back in person this fall, however that may look in terms of masks and social distancing. No matter how that plays out, I am heartened to know that so many people have been so committed to sustaining the spirit of the SASHP. We have learned that what makes the SAS Honors Program special is not a place but an idea: creating space for intellectually curious individuals to engage with each other. Even when that space is virtual, it remains vibrant.
To high school students who have been invited to the SAS Honors Program this fall: we hope you’ll join us! SASHP is filled with dynamic students just like you, who come from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of interests and are united by a desire to take advantage of everything that Rutgers and the Honors Program have to offer. But don’t just take my word for it. Please come to one of our Scholars Days and follow us on social media so you can hear the real story directly from our Honors Ambassadors and other student leaders. We think you’ll be captivated.
Click the links below for more information.