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 3 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).
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Members of Communities in Harmony are focused on making a positive musical experience
for the children they visit each week. This organization began as a South Carolina
Honors College outreach initiative striving to use music as a tool to enrich the lives
of the people they work with. In order to do this, members collaboratively plan every
session. They share songs, dances and musical games to take to the various afterschool
programs that they partner with each semester. The adaptive, cooperative and personal
skills developed have shaped the members into sensitive, perceptive volunteers. Each
session has a designated leader who guides the day's activities. Typically, these
leaders are the volunteers with the most experience, but the opportunity is open to
anyone who desires to develop those skills. The volunteers gather for planning retreats,
monthly meetings, and weekly volunteer sessions. Communities in Harmony won student
organization of the year in 2014 and has been awarded funds from the Hootie and the
Blowfish Grant for their initiatives. Get in touch via email.
Waverly Afterschool Programs was started in 2003 by a motivated group of Honors College
students who learned of a local need for afterschool tutors during a Martin Luther
King Day of Service. Since then, Waverly has become a 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, to develop
the self-esteem and literacy skills of all children who participate, and to help children
realize that they can overcome life's challenges. 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 Afterschool
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. Get in touch via Garnet Gate or email.
Project VIDA is a 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." The students in Project Vida have truly
become a part of the community that they serve. Project VIDA won the Outstanding Student
Organization Service Award in 2014. Get in touch via Garnet Gate or email.
Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.