Being a part of the Honors Program at Marist is probably a lot more fun than you think.
No, it does not mean hours and hours more work. What is does mean, instead, is that you have the opportunity to make amazing friends and bond over all the amazing experiences the program has to offer. To give some insight on what the Honors Program is really about, imagine this day in the life.
Dr. Snyder is the director of the Honors Program. He is also a philosophy professor, but not in the stereotypical sense you may think of. Dr. Snyder, or just ‘Snyder’ as most honors students lovingly call him, is the heart of the entire Honors Program. His enthusiasm, passion, and dedication is reflected in the long line of students outside his office at any given time. Whether it is to figure out a class schedule, or just to hang out and talk, Snyder is always there.
One of the main focuses of the Honors Program is outside-the-classroom learning. This semester, for the first time, ‘Environmental Explorations of the Hudson’ was offered. It may first seem like your regular environmental science class, but the setting is a bit different: the class takes place, literally, on the Hudson. For almost every class session, Dr. Fink (sometimes accompanied by Snyder) takes the students out onto the river by boat to really experience the environment they are learning about. This will probably be the first class these students have attended with a lifejacket on, but that is exactly what makes it so great. Sophomore Jenna Vanadia (pictured in the red below), says, “Being an environmental science major, this is my favorite class I’ve taken here at Marist so far. We have taken the boat down to many historic sites along the river like Storm King, the Trap Rock quarry, the Payne mansion, and more. It is great to actually experience the history of the river rather than just look at pictures of it.”
To continue the Honors focus on real-life learning, many students opt to take Ethics of Food. This class, one of the most popular in the program, focusing on the issues of food sustainability and the ethical dilemmas that result from such problems. As a Civic Engagement course in the program, students are required to complete a community service aspect. For this course, students volunteer at a local farm. Getting your hands dirty after a long day in the library is surprisingly relaxing, and getting off campus for any new experience is always beneficial.
As a freshman in the Honors Program, you have the opportunity to live in Honors Housing, which is an entire floor (and a half) designated to honors students. The lounge is often filled with students studying or just hanging out. As a Honors Housing alumni, I can honestly say that all of my best friends resulted from living on the floor. We were often referred to as the “8th floor family’ because of how close we all were. On any given night, there were organized events on the floor with the purpose of both introducing us the the Honors Program while also giving us opportunities to bond with one another. ‘Food with Faculty’ is an event held monthly that allows a professor to give a (very) informal short lecture on a topic of his or her choosing and then answering questions. Getting to know professors on an informal level, and listening to them speak on topics they are particularly passionate about, really gives Honors students insight into all Marist has to offer (oh, and there is always free pizza). In the photo below, Philosophy professor Dr. Georganna Ulary discusses philosophy and its connection to martial arts.
Being in the Honors Program is really about one thing: opportunity. The opportunity to take classes that are particularly enriching, to explore off-campus, and to make friends that will last a lifetime.