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My Honors College

Service Learning

Service learning allows students to meet the BTC requirement through an enhanced form of academic learning that also benefits the community.

Typically, only Honors service learning courses fulfill the BTC requirement, given the special nature and rigorous service requirement of Honors service learning courses. An Honors service learning course can also fulfill an Honors elective.

When students enroll in an Honors service learning course, they will apply classroom knowledge to serve real community needs while fulfilling the Honors BTC requirement. Students can expect service learning classes to have about 20 hours of engagement outside the classroom within a given semester. Service learning courses are three credits, and the SCHC offers unique classes (some of which will also count towards major and minor credit as well as Graduation with Leadership Distinction).

Service Learning Courses

When you enroll in an Honors service learning course, you will apply your classroom knowledge to serve real community needs. We believe that every major and interest area presents an opportunity to serve, so each semester we offer service-learning courses led by faculty who have built careers harnessing their talents for good. Service learning courses in the Honors College ask you to go beyond the books to shape the city—take a look at how some of our recent and ongoing courses have served our community.

Recent Courses

Oliver Gospel Mission

Homelessness in South Carolina

Taught by professor of psychology Dr. Bret Kloos, students spent time getting to know the homeless in Columbia and working with organizations that serve them. As their final product in the class, students crafted research and advocacy projects to tackle the problem of homelessness in the state.

Historic Columbia

Putting History to Work: Historic Preservation in Columbia Today

The history department’s Dr. Robert Weyeneth modeled this Honors course on one of his graduate history seminars. It gave honors students the unique opportunity to learn about historic preservation in the city of Columbia, visit historic sites, and apply this knowledge to public history and historic preservation projects in Columbia and the Midlands.  

Poetry on the Comet

Creative Writing

Dr. Ed Madden, professor of English and poet laureate of the city of Columbia, SC, led this course’s exploration of poetry, fiction, and creating art in the service of one’s community. Students had the opportunity to work with Dr. Madden on a public poetry project and/or to develop unique service projects of their own that could spread art through Columbia.  

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Spanish for Healthcare Professionals

Students in Carla Swygert’s Spanish for Healthcare Professionals learn the language by engaging in-person with patients in a Spanish-speaking clinic. They translate patients’ symptoms and work alongside medical professionals, gaining hands-on experience in the field.


Women in Society

Dr. Mary B. Waters’ students delve into psychological, historical, anthropological, economic, and political contexts of women in society. Working with local agencies like women’s shelters, after-school girls’ groups, and other organizations helps make their classroom knowledge concrete.

Irmo Middle School

Research, Practice and Policy in School Behavioral Health

Psychology’s Dr. Mark Weist brought his extensive experience with school mental health into his course’s partnership with Irmo Middle School. Honors students had the pleasure of working with Irmo Middle School students while also learning about psychological theories of behavior and development throughout the course. 

Student Service Organizations

If a service learning course doesn’t quite fit into your academic schedule, there are still many opportunities to volunteer. Honors College student organizations have built long-standing relationships with community partners to positively impact Columbia.

While participation in student service organizations is a valuable college experience, service learning is distinguished by a formal academic component. Service learning will only receive Beyond the Classroom credit if taken as an Honors College service learning class. 

Waverly After School Program was started in 2003 by a motivated group of Honors College students who learned of a local need for after school tutors during a Martin Luther King Day of Service. Since then, Waverly has become an Honors student organization and has been awarded a lifetime grant of $10,000 by State Farm Insurance. Their mission is to enhance the lives and opportunities of children in the Columbia community, to serve as educational role models who provide a fun, safe and caring experience and to develop the self-esteem and literacy skills of all children who participate. Waverly members believe that all children need a safe place to go after school each day with caring, responsible adults and programs that encourage both learning and personal growth. Waverly After School Programs has four core functions: 1) To provide educational enrichment 2) To promote continued educational excellence 3) To provide youth with positive role models, and 4) To develop student volunteers into leaders.

Email the Waverly After School Program

Project VIDA is an Honors student organization at the University of South Carolina that welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds. Members of Project VIDA create presentations about healthy living for elementary, middle and high school populations in underprivileged communities. It started through an Honors College initiative (Drop Everything And Lead) and has been supported by the Bernard and Arline Ramsdale Endowment Fund. Since its creation in fall 2010, Project Vida has been committed to educating youth in the Columbia community about healthy living. Volunteers in Project Vida have learned to seamlessly translate their academic passions into interactive and fun presentations for the young people they work with. This organization has given students the opportunity to use their classroom experiences to impact the lives of community members, while receiving personal, professional and civic growth. One Project Vida member stated, "Even though we are the ones providing the information on health, I never fail to learn new things with each presentation."

Email Project VIDA

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.