Students take part in a graveyard poetry reading.
In a world full of new discoveries, countless cultures, war, injustices and infinite natural and man-made wonders, it is no longer a luxury to be aware of the complex layers that constitute our world. It is a necessity. The Honors Program is dedicated to taking our students’ education to an experiential level that fosters engagement not only with faculty but with their community as well. Societies in Wall Residential Hall are designed to do just that. Faculty- led and Resident Advisor-organized, each of the nine active Societies have a specific theme or disciplinary focus and venture beyond campus into the surrounding community to explore local, national, and international ideas as well as provide opportunities for student leadership in innovation. From graveyard poetry readings to mayoral debates and trips to the zoo, Societies cover almost any interest imaginable and push students to be the best version of themselves.
Charles Mignot’s World Languages and Cultures Society regularly reaches beyond the Crescent City to create an underlying understanding and unity among the many different cultures represented on Tulane’s campus. At a recent event, “Show and Tell”, students heard about others’ various experiences with international culture by bringing a piece of a chosen culture along with a story. Professor Mignot reflects, “It was an opportunity for all of us to discover international cultural … to hear about the real life experiences that some of the students had with foreign cultures, to learn about some students’ languages and cultures of origins, to pick up a few words in Chinese, Hebrew, and North England English, and to taste some delicious homemade food!” Students joined in on the fun, “traveling” from South America to Europe. James Decuir, student studying Biological Chemistry and French, tried his hand in French baking as he explored the techniques to create a classic dessert, meringue, which varies from country to country. “In sum, France, Switzerland, and Italy each have their own technique to create this classic dessert and each technique allows for a slightly different product.” Decuir smartly named the presentation “United Nations of Meringue”.
From a neuroscience perspective, the Gray Matter Society, led by Professor Gary Dohanich, addresses the many awesome capabilities of the human brain. Keeping in mind, no pun intended, the mechanics of the brain, Professor Dohanich has used this time to discuss the best way to study and learn in college and beyond. Ray Arcenas, a member of the Gray Matter Society, reflects on the benefits of Societies, “Personally I think that the Gray Matter Society meetings have been a great opportunity to take a break from the busy academic life and socialize a bit more with friends, and soon-to-be friends, who are generally interested in the same fields.”
Amid the chaos and never-ending to-do lists in everyday life, especially the life of a college student, it is imperative to find an outlet to de-stress, be constructive, and challenge what we think we know. Learning takes place when we stop talking and start listening to the world around us. How are you becoming your best self?