Honors First Year Colloquium
The Honors First Year Colloquium is a required Honors class that is designed to focus on leadership experiences, academic skills, and critical thinking. Many of the assignments are demonstrations of these important skills, such as networking, engaging in group work, giving oral presentations, effective note taking and understanding other points of view. The academic content of the course will focus on immigration and national identity, and there will be a series of lectures from a wide variety of disciplines, including history, biology and economics. Students are also introduced to different perspectives through discussion of weekly readings. Skills are practiced through weekly assignments, both writing assignments and quizzes.
How Does it Work?
The course is comprised of two parts: lecture and breakout. After lecture, students head to their breakout groups according to their refugee service projects. These breakout groups are led by upperclassmen known as facilitators. The facilitators are both acting teachers and student mentors. Students choose their service project groups during registration at Orientation.
One of the skills Colloquium focuses on particularly is the skill of empathy. This is a crucial skill for students entering the world of citizenship and employment in an interconnected global economy and diverse workplace. To better understand empathy, students will work with a population that is (for most students) very different than themselves: refugees recently resettled in the US. Each student will choose an aspect of the service project to focus on which will determine your “facilitation group”, the discussion breakout section of the Colloquium. The service project will take approximately three hours a week outside of class and will culminate in a public poster presentation to which the UNF and members of the refugee resettlement community will be invited.
Video Credits: 2017 Colloquium Film Group. View transcript
Service Project Groups
(Groups are subject to change each year.)
Please note that you need to have transportation or partner with a classmate who has transportation, as mentoring is an off campus activity. You must have SATURDAY availability – do not sign up for this if you are not available on Saturdays!
Students will be grouped together and matched with a family who arrived as refugees. They will help children with homework, play with the kids, and help them develop their English speaking skills on a weekly basis throughout the semester. Students will also help the children learn about and prepare for American holiday celebrations that will be held on UNF’s campus for the refugees. For example, the students will help the children make a Halloween costume for a trick or treating event. Mentors will also take kids on the bus to the local library. Mentors will be required to undergo a background check. Mentors will record activities they complete with the families and submit them to the nonprofit partner.
Please note that you need to have transportation or partner with a classmate who has transportation, as coaching is an off campus activity. You must be available to coach on FRIDAY afternoons, 2-6pm. Do not sign up for this section if you don’t have Friday afternoons available!
Students will go to a local community center (20 min away) on a weekly basis throughout the semester where there are a lot of school-aged kids who arrived in the US as refugees. Students might assist with games to work on English or with reading/homework help and then take the kids outside to play soccer and possibly also volleyball. The culminating event will be a soccer match held at UNF. Coaches will be required be required to complete a background check. Coaches will record activities they complete with the families and submit them to our nonprofit partner.
Please note that you need to have transportation or partner with a classmate who has transportation, as this is an off-campus activity.
Students will act as teaching assistants for classes of refugees learning English. Duties will vary from teacher to teacher. Sometimes students will work one-on-one with a student who is struggling or with a student who is excelling. Sometimes students will demonstrate writing and speaking for the class. Classes are held Monday- Thursday at one of the following time blocks: 9-12pm, 1-4pm or 6-8pm. Students will commit to volunteering one 2-3 hour class session per week, but will be able to choose among those times. Classes are held at churches that are downtown, or on the San Jose/Hendricks area (Southside of Jacksonville).
On campus. This group will create, organize, and run two holiday activities at UNF: trick-or- treating in the dorms and a Thanksgiving dinner party. All students will participate in both events. Halloween is typically on a weekend evening (6-8pm) and Thanksgiving is on a Saturday afternoon.
On campus. Students will research the needs of the refugee community and then select an area of focus for the group. The group will create a “request for proposals” and send it out to local nonprofits. They will read the proposals from the nonprofits and select one to fund. They will monitor the progress and evaluate the results at the end of the semester to see how their investment performed. This will give students an opportunity to research our community and also to see what it is like to be choosing among applications and distributing money rather than making applications and collecting money!
On campus, however some students will need transportation around Jacksonville to collect clothing.
Students will organize clothing drives for the refugee families, focusing on coats/jackets, sweaters/sweatshirts, soccer cleats, and soccer balls. The drives can occur in the city or in students’ home cities, not just at UNF, so if you have a connection to an organization in your hometown that might be willing to donate soccer gear or children’s jackets, please let us know.
On Campus, though some students will need to travel off campus to collect footage.
Students will document the public activities of the Colloquium. They will attend events and film them, ultimately to create a 10-minute documentary. An example of recent films can be found at the top of this page.
On campus. Students will publicize the major events on and off campus through posters and press releases to local media outlets, and will raise awareness about refugee issues on campus through fliers, tabling at Market Wednesdays and tabling at other related events.
On campus. This group will raise money to support the entire project. There are many fundraising possibilities. Past ideas include a dodgeball tournament, an auction and spirit nights at local restaurants. Students will have the opportunity to design and execute fundraisers. The goal is to raise $2500 to support the program.