Changes are being made in the Scholars program on Wartburg’s campus to promote more campus involvement, faculty adviser, Dr. Mariah Birgen said.
This is the second year freshmen scholar students are living on the third floor of Clinton Hall and they are taking more action in planning events for everyone in the dorm. Students are selected for the program by applying in high school and were either in the top 10 percent of their graduating class or received a 26 or higher on their ACT.
“The purpose of putting on more activities in the freshman dorm is to bring more scholar activities to where they live,” Birgen said. “Having more activities in Clinton will also bring the students together and will include those not involved in the club.”
Several activities including a speaker’s series called “Broaden your horizons,” movie nights and study sessions have been planned for this semester to promote scholarly involvement. Each event is promoted and encouraged by the scholar students through posters or word of mouth and students not involved in the Scholars program are encouraged to participate.
The 30 scholar students living in Clinton Hall have brought positive changes to the residence hall, Clinton Residential Hall Director, Derek Gainsforth said. With experience in living in a living- learning- community himself, Gainsforth believes it is very beneficial for Wartburg academics.
“I’m a big fan of having the scholar students live in Clinton,” Gainsforth said. “It builds a strong community and an easier way for freshman students to get involved.”
The Scholars program was created to increase academic excellence and learning opportunities for students on campus, Birgen said. Before living in Clinton, the scholar students were put in different dorms but because of the success they will remain on the third floor of Clinton Hall.
One of the biggest changes being made to the program this year was a student-led service trip to St. Louis that took place over fall break. The students worked with the Center for Community Engagement and were given the chance to work with students between the ages of five and fourteen in a low income area.
“We really thought participating in a service trip would bring our organization to the next level,” Scholars student Aditi Patel said. “It was really a great experience and we meet a lot of amazing people.”
The purpose of the trip was to give the scholar students an opportunity for service and learning and also a chance to give back to the Wartburg community, Patel said. The students had a great reaction to the trip and plan on participating in a service trip every fall break from now on.
“I think at first the students were skeptical to whether or not they could make a difference in one day of work, but afterwards they felt they had touched the lives of students at the school and really had made a difference,” Birgen said.