Honors kicks off new year with welcome games, info session

Celebrating an increase in their ranks for the 2022-2023 academic year, the Honors Program hosted their annual welcome event with games, scavenger hunts, dinner and information for new members on Sept. 1 from 7-9 p.m.

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Honors kicks off new year with welcome games, info session
By: Mira Costello
Editor

Celebrating an increase in their ranks for the 2022-2023 academic year, the Honors Program hosted their annual welcome event with games, scavenger hunts, dinner and information for new members on Sept. 1 from 7-9 p.m.

While veteran members and newcomers alike played volleyball and yard games on Greenlawn, other Honors students split off to complete a campus scavenger hunt or socialize with other members. With about 100 more students than last year, according to director Dr. Neovi Karakatsanis, there were certainly new peers to meet. 

Dr. K., as many Honors students know her, said she is hopeful about the new year as the campus emerges from Covid-19. 

“What I’ve noticed is that students are far more interactive – they talk to each other, they interact with each other, they’re making friends – whereas last year and the year before, everyone was very isolated and stayed to themselves,” she said. “We have a new assistant director, Karrie Jean, so I’m looking forward to working with Karrie to plan a lot of fun and educational activities for our students and getting them as engaged as possible with each other and with the program.”

Nika Anderson, a freshman majoring in Political Science, said she hopes being an Honors student will set her apart. “I hope that it somehow distinguishes me,” she said. “I’m interested in joining some of the campus organizations, too, like the International Students Organization.”

As the night wound down, Honors students, officers and faculty convened in the Grill for dinner and information about maintaining good standing in the Honors Program as well as engagement opportunities the program will offer this year. 

Hearing about those opportunities caught the attention even of students who aren’t yet part of the Honors Program. One of them was Emilio Piedra, an education major who said he is going to join Honors after passing through the event and hearing about what the program has to offer. 

“I want to prove to myself that I can do it, because I know I can,” he said. “Obviously, it’s going to look good on my diploma. I just want to be more involved in activities and programs within IUSB.”

Sophomore Thanelie Helser, a social media manager for the Honors Program, said she looks forward to meeting new people and that her positive experiences in the program inspired her to become an Honors leader.

“I applied because I saw the impact the leaders were making for my freshman year, so I wanted to be a part of that group. My experience was just so nice, I wanted to contribute and help out with the new leaders, and I’m so glad I made it because I’ve been enjoying it so much,” she said. “I can’t wait to meet different people with different backgrounds and ideas so we can really be a group that brings in everybody and everybody feels heard and seen.”

In order to be a part of the Honors Program, students must maintain a GPA of at least 3.3, take a certain number of honors-designated courses before graduating, regularly attend campus events and meet a volunteer requirement each semester. More information about the Honors Program’s activities and requirements can be found at academics.iusb.edu/honors-program. 

And, if those criteria sound like a good fit for you? Dr. Karakatsanis wants you to join. When asked what she would say to a student on the fence about joining Honors, she said, “I would tell them to give it a try – they’ll love it.” 

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