A group of young adults sit in an airy classroom at Shenandoah University one morning, engaged in a dialogue about race, gender, equality and education. This sharply dressed congregation is made up of college students ranging from freshmen to seniors, from four-year institutions to community colleges. What they have in common is their enrollment in their respective institution’s honors program, each student representing their school at the meeting.
They are at the Virginia Council of Honor College’s (VCHC) 2019 Fall Planning Conference, organizing the VCHC 2020 Spring Conference that will take place next April. The students gather to plan the theme, activities, and keynote speaker, using their experience as honor students to design a program that is entertaining and enriching for all of its attendees.
Four students from NOVA’s own honors program are present, and offering their own insight on the prospective theme, “Diversity in Education”– a topic that NOVA is uniquely well-adjusted to. The students, Mia Griffin, Maria Copeland, and Justin Vinh from the Loudoun Campus, and Kelsey Wilcox from the Annandale Campus, have a valuable perspective to share as attendants of a college that hosts a variety of students from different ethnic and economic backgrounds. But not only do these four NOVA students have plenty to contribute to the conversation, as the discussion of the spring conference comes to a close and turns to executing an efficient honors program, they find the exchange beneficial for themselves as well. The plethora of different approaches other schools utilize for their own honors organizations provide useful guides for NOVA’s own budding honors program participants.
NOVA honors representative Maria Copeland reflects, “Attending the [VCHC] gave me the opportunity to connect with outstanding students from around my state, including those from my own school, and provided me with ideas to implement that can improve the programs my college offers.”