Honors program good for grades, adds to social life

John Adams

They don’t carry membership cards or walk around in groups together, but the collection of 32 freshmen in Bailey Hall do share one binding feature: good grades.
The students are all part of a new organization called the St. Paul Scholars Housing Program. The program’s goal is to form a network between other honors students, college advisers and faculty.
The students who make up the program live in scattered rooms grouped near one of the Bailey Hall study lounges. Right now, the room is filled with students caught in the on-campus housing shortage, but the idea is to give the honors students a place to congregate.
The St. Paul housing program is an expansion of the University Honors Housing Program. The honors housing program at Middlebrook Hall has been such a success, it was expanded to the St. Paul campus, said hall coordinator Kevin Altes.
The Bailey program includes students in three St. Paul campus colleges: natural resources, human ecology, and agricultural, food and environmental sciences.
Tim Kinches, an honors freshman in veterinary sciences, said the application process was simple: “I just checked the box on the housing application and was accepted.”
The opportunities to study with other honors students are his favorite aspect of the program, he said.
Resident Community Adviser Jason Rodgers is one of the two assistants who live with the honors students. Being an honors student during his freshman and sophomore years probably got him the job, he said.
The honors group is currently made up of freshmen, but it is hoped sophomores and juniors will become involved in the program next year, Rodgers said.
Altes is optimistic that the St. Paul program will be successful.
“We had a good turnout for our barbecue even though the weather was cool,” Altes said.
Staged earlier this month, the barbecue was the first social event for the housing program. It brought together honors students, resident community advisers, and college advisers for an introductory meal.
Altes said he hoped to bring advisers and faculty into the hall for student information sessions on a monthly basis once the student lounges become available.