The Honors College Hosts First Ever Honors Club Expo

By Sydney McDonald

This past August, the Honors College successfully hosted its very first Honors College Club Expo showcasing the Chancellor’s Scholars Board, the Honors College Peer Mentor Program, the Honors College Vanguard, and the Appalachian Honors Association. The exposition was the culmination of a summer’s worth of collaborative efforts between these standing student-run organizations and the interim dean of the Honors College, Dr. Vicky Klima. This event resulted from the substantial growth of each of these organizations over the last several years. The Expo highlighted this growth, and introduced these organizations to this year’s cohort of incoming Honors College students.

The Club Expo was also an opportunity to showcase distinctive Honors College student leadership. Honors College student organization representatives Matthew Mair, Sydney McDonald, Anna Carroll, and Emerson Phillips spoke at the Honors College Convocation ceremony and participated in the Club Expo. Matthew Mair, a senior Chancellor’s Scholar double majoring in economics and political science, serves as president of the Honors College Vanguard Leadership Board. Honors College sophomore Sydney McDonald, who is a double major in psychology and gender, women’s and sexuality studies, serves as Director of the Honors College Peer Mentor Program. Anna Carroll, a senior Honors College student majoring in economics is the President of the Appalachian Honors Association (AHA!). Emerson Phillips, a sophomore Chancellor’s Scholar majoring in history and social studies education, serves on the Chancellor’s Scholars Board and is their Director of Communications.

Photos from left to right feature Matthew Mair, Sydney McDonald, Anna Carroll, and Emerson Phillips. Photos submitted.

At the Convocation Ceremony, each student representative introduced themselves and their organization to the incoming cohort of new students. Following these individual presentations, incoming students had the opportunity to join the individual representatives at the Club Expo in Appalachian Hall to ask about each organization and learn how to get involved. These student representatives hoped this event would serve as a catalyst for community-building. Mair summarized the representatives’ hopes in a statement,

“The Honors Club Expo is an excellent step forward in the building of an Honors community. Students were able to see how they could get involved, but also that there is a passionate group of students already working to build that community. By sharing our enthusiasm for the Honors College, we can help engage our new students in ways that positively contribute to the Honors community and further the goals of the Honors College.”

McDonald shared, “The Honors Peer Mentor Program seeks to introduce incoming students with our current Honors students, bringing a unique mentorship dynamic amongst students across varying majors and interests. Ultimately, I have the role as Director to coordinate the matching of current students to incoming students in addition to overseeing recruitment of both groups throughout the academic year.” Sharing her perspective on the impact of the Expo, McDonald stated,

“The feedback following the Expo was immediate. We were able to directly reach incoming students in a way that has never been seen before within the program’s history. We broke a record for number of students interested in being a part of the program and I’m immensely hopeful for this level of involvement to continue through our recruitment period later this year.”

Mair expressed similar sentiments and hopes for an influx in the future involvement of students in the Honors Vanguard, “I anticipate that the Honors Club Expo will increase visibility for all Honors College student organizations and generate excitement among new students about the ways to become involved. Hopefully, the Expo will have a positive impact on student recruitment.”

Mair described that in his role as President of the Honors College Vanguard Leadership, Board he works “to establish an executive board for Honors College Vanguard” in addition to overseeing the organizational efforts of the Honors College’s daily “Tour & Talks.” Additionally, Mair coordinates with Dr. Klima to schedule Vanguard volunteers to guide these events as recruitment for the Honors College. He also facilitates the scheduling, training, and acclimation of Honors College student volunteers for the “Tour & Talks.” Mair explained that “Vanguard represents the outward face of the Honors College. Our daily Tour & Talk events give Vanguard members a chance to interact with prospective students and make connections before they even come to Appalachian.”

After the Expo, Carroll holds similar hopes for AHA!. She explained that AHA! is “the Honors College social club. We hold social events for the Honors College roughly once a month.” Carroll oversees leadership within AHA! and hoped the Club Expo would help AHA! to “recruit new executive board members to continue strong leadership in the coming years.” She has since begun those efforts. AHA! hopes to recruit a first-year student from each Honors floor of Cone Hall for new executive positions, and Carroll reports that they have already recruited first-year Honors College student, Kelsie Peck.

Phillips explained to incoming students that, “The Chancellor’s Scholars Board was established last year to create and further encourage community and relationships within the Chancellor’s Scholars community and the Honors College as a whole.” Additionally, Phillips provided an explained her role as Director of Communications, stating that she, “Maintains internal communications within the board and the scholars, as well as external communications with University administration and faculty.”

Following the Honors Convocation and Honors Club Expo, Phillips reflected on the success of the events, stating, “After the Honors Convocation and Club Expo, we already had first-year Chancellor’s Scholars reaching out to the board in hopes of joining for this upcoming year…I am hopeful that following the Honors Club Expo and into the academic year, the Chancellor’s Scholars community will continue to not only be productive in planning events and taking on leadership roles, but will also form strong relationships and connections within the Chancellor’s Scholars community and the Honors College as a whole.”

While the impact of the Honors Club Expo for the year is still to be seen, the energy and coordination of Honors organizations and students has set a new precedent of collaboration and distinctive leadership. For more information on how to get involved within Honors student-run organizations, please visit the Honors College Website

Published: Dec 6, 2023 11:49am