Honors First Year Colloquium 


What is it?

Each year's new Honors cohort explores immigration and national identity in a class while building critical thinking, interpersonal, and leadership skills through a student run service project helping refugees.


How does it work?

The course is comprised of two parts: lecture and breakout. Dr. Leslie Kaplan organizes a lecture series, which includes faculty and staff from different departments, such as Biology, Economics, and History. After lecture, students head to their breakout groups according to their refugee service projects. These breakout groups are led by upper classmen known as facilitators. The facilitators are both acting teachers and student mentors. Students choose their service project groups during registration at Orientation. 


What do the groups do? *


The research group allows for a closer bond between the Honor students and the refugees. Research regarding the different cultures of the refugees establishes knowledge that helps conceal the gap of ignorance and unawareness. 


This group is special because they get to personally interact with refugees and learn about a different culture. Once a week the mentors travel to the homes of refugees and help them with homework and share meals with the families. 

Sports Coaches

This group works directly with refugee children and teens to socially enrich their lives by building relationships with Americans and refugees. Every Friday this group coaches refugee children in different sports, boosting their confidence and providing a safe outlet.   

English Tutors

The students go weekly to tutor refugee adults in the English language. They focus on day to day communication skills and the language barrier. 


The fundraisers are in charge of raising money to help enrich the lives of refugee children. They hold several events throughout the semester to encourage the community to donate. 


This group holds events for holidays celebrated in the US, namely Halloween and Thanksgiving, for the refugees of Jacksonville. While introducing them to American traditions, the events group provides a safe and fun experience that helps make the adjustment to American culture easier. 

Clothing Drive

The clothing drive is in charge of providing drop boxes for winter clothing and soccer gear to donate to refugee families. Not only do the donations reduce the stress of relocating refugees, they also offer the community an opportunity to help a wonderful cause.  

GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

The GIS collects data about local establishments frequented by the immigrants. The data is then placed in a demographic map and used to visualize the immigrant and refugee populations.  


The film group is responsible for recording the projects that Colloquium takes part in. Due to thorough recap, improvements and innovative ideas for refugees are inspired.  

Public Relations

PR serves as the liaison of all groups and is the face of Colloquium. This group focuses on advertising events, public speaking, and community awareness.  



* Groups subject to change annually.



Click here to see the 2013 Film group's documentary about the Honors First Year Colloquium.



Click here to see the 2012 Film group's documentary about the Honors First Year Colloquium.