The most difficult part of the competition for White was creating the volunteer list. “It’s like putting together a puzzle, but I love doing it! Once I have everyone’s availability, I do my best to diversify each major event, the receptions and panels by major, cohort, ethnicity, gender and involvement,” White said. “The biggest thing after this is communication with the volunteers. Each competition we are learning what works best and we use a combination of emails, texts, and meetings with volunteers to make sure everyone is 100% clear on what their duties are.”
During her competition as a prospective student, she was extremely nervous, “It was ran so well, and the volunteers were so kind that it made me feel super welcome and I had a blast,” White said. “I felt compelled to make sure every student was able to have the same experience that I did when I attended my competition.”
After each competition, the organizers make notes for what to improve on the next one. Additional changes over the years are explained by White, “We like to change the group activity from year to year so they students are always surprised. We have also made smaller changes such as the addition of floaters throughout the day, different moderators for student panels and different ways of going about housing tours.”
One thing that White hopes the prospective students take away is the idea that the Honors College is like one big family. “It’s super cheesy, I know, but that feeling of being so close between the upperclassmen is one of the factors that compelled me to come here,” White said. “We are all so different and come from different walks of life, and yet we are able to function as one big group, and I would love to share that community with the prospective students that come visit.”
Freshman Emily Imhof serves on the Honors Council and assisted in evaluating last year’s competition. “We discussed the amount of students allowed to speak at the different panels and determined how many students can attend the various off site competition locations, as well as what to wear to the different events,” Imhof said.
Imhof volunteered because the competition was one of the reasons why this school piqued her interest. “I want the students to know how welcoming the students and faculty are, as well as how to put together and studious the environment is,” Imhof said. “Students hopefully after this competition will be excited to thrive and help build this program.”
On Friday night, a few of the students who came to the competition without a family member went over to Imhof’s townhouse to have dinner and meet other students. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to get feedback about the competition, as well as eat some good food,” Imhof said. “To start the night and break the ice we all watched High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and enjoyed the soup, and finished the nights with laughter and smiles.”
There are two more competitions going on during the spring semester. The next one is on Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 13-15. The final competition of the year begins on March 5.