Service learning allows students to meet the BTC requirement through an enhanced form
of academic learning that also benefits the community.
Typically, only Honors service learning courses fulfill the BTC requirement, given
the special nature and rigorous service requirement of Honors service learning courses.
An Honors service learning course can also fulfill an Honors elective.
When students enroll in an Honors service learning course, they will apply classroom
knowledge to serve real community needs while fulfilling the Honors BTC requirement.
Students can expect service learning classes to have about 20 hours of engagement
outside the classroom within a given semester. Service learning courses are three
credits, and the SCHC offers unique classes (some of which will also count towards
major and minor credit as well as Graduation with Leadership Distinction).
Service Learning Courses
When you enroll in an Honors service learning course, you will apply your classroom
knowledge to serve real community needs. We believe that every major and interest
area presents an opportunity to serve, so each semester we offer service-learning
courses led by faculty who have built careers harnessing their talents for good. Service
learning courses in the Honors College ask you to go beyond the books to shape the
city—take a look at how some of our recent and ongoing courses have served our community.
Homelessness in South Carolina
Taught by professor of psychology Dr. Bret Kloos, students spent time getting to know
the homeless in Columbia and working with organizations that serve them. As their
final product in the class, students crafted research and advocacy projects to tackle
the problem of homelessness in the state.
Putting History to Work: Historic Preservation in Columbia Today
The history department’s Dr. Robert Weyeneth modeled this Honors course on one of
his graduate history seminars. It gave honors students the unique opportunity to learn
about historic preservation in the city of Columbia, visit historic sites, and apply
this knowledge to public history and historic preservation projects in Columbia and
Dr. Ed Madden, professor of English and poet laureate of the city of Columbia, SC,
led this course’s exploration of poetry, fiction, and creating art in the service
of one’s community. Students had the opportunity to work with Dr. Madden on a public
poetry project and/or to develop unique service projects of their own that could spread
art through Columbia.
Spanish for Healthcare Professionals
Students in Carla Swygert’s Spanish for Healthcare Professionals learn the language
by engaging in-person with patients in a Spanish-speaking clinic. They translate patients’
symptoms and work alongside medical professionals, gaining hands-on experience in
Women in Society
Dr. Mary B. Waters’ students delve into psychological, historical, anthropological,
economic, and political contexts of women in society. Working with local agencies
like women’s shelters, after-school girls’ groups, and other organizations helps make
their classroom knowledge concrete.
Research, Practice and Policy in School Behavioral Health
Psychology’s Dr. Mark Weist brought his extensive experience with school mental health
into his course’s partnership with Irmo Middle School. Honors students had the pleasure
of working with Irmo Middle School students while also learning about psychological
theories of behavior and development throughout the course.
Student Service Organizations
If a service learning course doesn’t quite fit into your academic schedule, there
are still many opportunities to volunteer. Honors College student organizations have
built long-standing relationships with community partners to positively impact Columbia.
While participation in student service organizations is a valuable college experience,
service learning is distinguished by a formal academic component. Service learning
will only receive Beyond the Classroom credit if taken as an Honors College service
Waverly After School Program was started in 2003 by a motivated group of Honors College
students who learned of a local need for after school tutors during a Martin Luther
King Day of Service. Since then, Waverly has become an Honors student organization
and has been awarded a lifetime grant of $10,000 by State Farm Insurance. Their mission
is to enhance the lives and opportunities of children in the Columbia community, to
serve as educational role models who provide a fun, safe and caring experience and
to develop the self-esteem and literacy skills of all children who participate. Waverly
members believe that all children need a safe place to go after school each day with
caring, responsible adults and programs that encourage both learning and personal
growth. Waverly After School Programs has four core functions: 1) To provide educational
enrichment 2) To promote continued educational excellence 3) To provide youth with
positive role models, and 4) To develop student volunteers into leaders.
Project VIDA is an Honors student organization at the University of South Carolina
that welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds. Members of Project VIDA create
presentations about healthy living for elementary, middle and high school populations
in underprivileged communities. It started through an Honors College initiative (Drop
Everything And Lead) and has been supported by the Bernard and Arline Ramsdale Endowment
Fund. Since its creation in fall 2010, Project Vida has been committed to educating
youth in the Columbia community about healthy living. Volunteers in Project Vida have
learned to seamlessly translate their academic passions into interactive and fun presentations
for the young people they work with. This organization has given students the opportunity
to use their classroom experiences to impact the lives of community members, while
receiving personal, professional and civic growth. One Project Vida member stated,
"Even though we are the ones providing the information on health, I never fail to
learn new things with each presentation."