- August 26th, 2021
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Honors Action is an exciting, week-long community engagement experience and course designed to provide first-year University of Alabama Honors College students with the opportunity to engage in meaningful community-based partnerships. From Aug. 8, 2021, to Aug. 13, 2021, students devoted the last week of their summer to service projects in the Tuscaloosa area.
This year, Honors students, leaders and volunteers worked at Brookwood Elementary, Cottondale Elementary and Davis-Emerson Middle School, completing many projects. Some of this year’s projects included: painting murals, picnic tables and sidewalks; landscaping; building benches, chalkboard stands and podiums to accommodate outdoor learning spaces; and creating sensory boards and hallway art for special education units. Some groups went above and beyond to cultivate a sense of place between the schools and the greater Alabama community.
“After discussions with the principal and faculty, we designed our projects to bring a sense of Alabama pride to Cottondale’s students. We painted native Alabama plants in the cafeteria (including Southern Magnolias and Queen Anne’s Lace) and highlighted famous Alabamians in the hallways (such as Nat King Cole and Helen Keller). As the week went on, I was proud to see the freshmen at my school actively engaging with their new Tuscaloosa community and building meaningful bonds with each other,” said Nick Sahil, Cottondale Elementary student leader.
Throughout the week, students worked with specific partnerships and service projects during the day, and engaged in daily lectures, small group discussions, meals and activities in the evening. Many of the programs centered around the Honors College 2021 Common Book, “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South” by John T. Edge.
Action week also enabled students to make connections with their peers. “It is a good way to make friends. I was a little skeptical going into it because I was not sure what all it entailed, but I am so glad I did this, and the lectures were interesting,” said Honors freshman Darby Pepper.
This program was just the beginning of what students can expect from their Honors College experience.
“Honors Action has proven time and again to be one of the most impactful programs to welcome new students to the Honors College experience,” said Quincy Hall, the Honors Year One coordinator. “I have watched our student leaders engage our incoming freshmen in meaningful ways, witnessed student participants stepping outside of their comfort zones and experienced the power of collaboration with various faculty and community members who have served as lecturers and assisted our students on their various projects. It is a privilege to be a part of building community and planting seeds for our students as they first come to campus.”
The University of Alabama’s Honors College works diligently to develop a diverse community of scholars and inspire students to connect with others as they become Critical and Creative Thinkers, Ethical and Empathetic Citizens and Collaborative and Inclusive Leaders within their chosen fields of study and beyond.