Each spring, we take honors students enrolled in the Capstone Seminar up to Oregon State University to visit the University Honors College and attend the Honors Thesis Fair. Last Friday, we made the trip, and I once again witnessed the positive impact this event has on the students and on me.
At the annual NCHC conference, I’ve heard from other honors program coordinators in the two-year college group about the importance of having organized field trips. Not only do they provide learning opportunities for the students, but they create chances for the students to bond and for students and faculty to get to know each other better. Most of our field trips are in town (museum tours, academic conferences, pizza dinners, etc.); however, the OSU trip requires a 45-minute drive each way and several hours of time together on the campus. It is our one out-of-town field trip, and the benefits are immediately visible.
Highlights from this year included a tour of the University Honors College’s new space. We saw the new classrooms. We also saw the student lounge and work space with the free printing and office supplies.
We saw the computer stations.
We saw places for students to relax and talk or read, possibly from The New York Times, daily copies of which were available in the lounge for free. They gave us a copy at the end of the tour.
The Honors Thesis Fair is always impressive. It’s inspiring to see what undergraduate honors students are doing with their research.
It’s equally inspiring to think about the research our students conduct and to know they will be in familiar territory when pursuing their upper division research at a university. Our students took pictures and notes and prepared to apply what they had learned from the honors posters to the poster and PowerPoint presentation they are currently working on in the seminar.
After the thesis fair, we walked around the campus. In the Memorial Union, we encountered a free, lunchtime, classical music concert.
Spending the day together allowed us time outside of class to talk about a variety of things. As we walked through downtown Corvallis and then had lunch, we discussed shared interests, our opinions about what we had seen at OSU, and how the day’s events might impact their work this term, next year, and farther into the future.
As I drove us back to Lane’s campus, the car became quiet while the students read The Times.