Honors program sending warmth this winter

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By: Kate Luce



This past week, The IU South Bend Honors Program crafted scarves to be donated to people in the community who will need them most this winter.

As COVID-19 has affected programming for every organization at IU South Bend, the Honors Program has adapted to hosting virtual events. Many students have also been asking for events that are more centered on group creativity while also held in a manner that is safe and socially distanced. 

“I should also add that we borrowed the activity from two of our wonderful honors students, Autumn Johnson and Bryn Cothran. Several years ago Autumn and Bryn were taking the Honors Freshman Seminar, which requires students to engage in community service by leading a project. Together, Autumn and Bryn launched Georgie’s Gift, named for a LaPorte High School student with a big heart who cared deeply about homelessness. Georgie was tragically killed in a car accident, and Autumn and Bryn decided to lead a number of community teach-ins in cafés, where they taught LaPorte residents and others how to make scarves that were donated to the Center for the Homeless here in South Bend. Georgie’s Gift and the work of Autumn and Bryn were our inspiration for this project,” Dr. Neovi Karakatsanis, Honors Program Director, said.

Honors students were able to RSVP on Titan Atlas to reserve yarn for the project. The project was ideal for Zoom because the yarn did not require any knitting or tools. Most students finished their scarves in two hours or less.

Because this project was very simple, students were able to socialize throughout the event.

“They talked about the end of the semester, plans they had for the fall and winter break, how they were coping with COVID, about their finals, and many other things,” Karakatsanis said.

Honors students chose to send 55 scarves to the Center for the Homeless in downtown South Bend, in honor of Georgie’s Gift, and to the Family Justice Center.

“They chose the Family Justice Center because many of them have been attending Webinars this semester sponsored by IUSB’s Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusive Excellence and the SOS/Family Justice Center on how to be an ally for domestic violence survivors. They have learned a lot from the webinars and enjoyed them. Thus, it made sense that half of the scarves would go there,” Karakatsanis said.

55 scarves were created to go to these two organizations. Students asked for another event much like this one, and some were looking to create another scarf. 

“The scarves are really plush and warm, and many of the students would like to make a scarf for themselves or as a gift to a loved-on. We are going to look into doing that for them,” Karakatsanis said.

While the semester has shifted online, the Honors Program will still be hosting events on Zoom, and they are planning future events for the spring semester.

“We’ll be hosting a virtual Holiday Party to bring our students together one last time before the semester ends, but we have also begun planning for next semester! We are organizing a virtual Book Club, where we will meet twice a month during the spring to read and discuss a book (we’re still taking suggestions for the book so students should send those to honprog@iusb.edu),” Karakatsanis said.

To keep up to date with the Honor’s Program’s future events, students are encouraged to head on over to Titan Atlas.  

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