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University Honors Program

Meet the People Behind the Success of Honors Student Welcome

By Tara McLoughlin

At the beginning of every school year the University Honors Program hosts a weekend for first-year Honors students known as Honors Student Welcome. We were ecstatic to have 80 leaders and 280 students attend this incredible weekend this year. Honors Student Welcome is an event run by the Honors Program Coordinator, Courtney Kingston, who had tremendous help this year from eight returning Honors student leaders who were very involved. Jackie Eckhart, Isabella Saylor, Maggie Ollier, Sarah Stuckert, Christopher Bussen, Clare Murrin, Sophia Dugan, and Carly Scarpitti.  These eight superstars held leadership roles and worked alongside our Welcome Leader volunteers to make this event a success. This event is an integral part of the freshman experience and allows our Honors students from all classes to meet the incoming class and foster new friendships! Jackie, Maggie, and Carly were all leaders in the logistics of the event. Jackie and Carly reflected on this weekend and were beyond thankful for the experiences the Honors Program brought them. Jackie, a senior communications major, stated that her role “helped improve my leadership skills and my confidence so much. I don’t think I would’ve gone to pursue higher roles within other organizations without having the invaluable experience that HSW gave me.” Honors Student Welcome (HSW for short) impacts our students in a variety of ways, mainly striving to answer all the questions our first-years may come in with and to bring a level of comfort before the start of classes, but it also offers our returning  Honors students an opportunity to learn crucial leadership and management skills and be an essential guide in navigating through UD alongside the Honors Program.

 All eight of our main leaders have been in the Honors Program since freshman year and all agreed how important this weekend is for first-year students and how beneficial the Honors Program as a whole has been to their experience at UD. Some minor changes were made to improve the event and we only know it will get better year after year! For example, Jackie shared how this year they switched the idea of a question panel from the students to the leaders, and a presentation by the leaders allowed time for questions which t “takes the pressure off the students to lead their discussion”. Little changes year after year allow our program to grow and encourage more students to become involved and leaders here at UD. For the past two years, Isabella has run the Honors Instagram on the day of Honors Student Welcome. She has used her talents to show off the event and everything else Honors offers! Whether you are an incoming freshman or a seasoned returner to our program we love having such involved and dedicated students who look to lead, serve, and grow alongside their community. Thank you to these eight superstars, and to all of our leaders and participants that made this year a success. If you are hoping to get involved and become a leader for the Honors Program be sure to reach out and keep your eye out for the email around March to apply! We appreciate all of our students and their desire to get involved. 

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