Honors event lets

Lucas Kunach

Half of what most people learn is forgotten after six months. And high school students who visited campus last weekend have about that long to retain the valuable information they learned about University life as part of Red Carpet Days before fall classes begin.
Last Thursday and Friday, the College of Liberal Arts Honors Student Association paired the experience of almost 100 volunteers with the excitement of about 60 incoming CLA honors students. The event was designed not only to introduce future honors students to the honors program, but to also benefit current honors students.
“We want to bridge the gap between years and make honors more of a united group as opposed to freshmen, sophomores, etc,” said Anders Carlson, a member of the honors association who works on the Red Carpet Days Fundraising Committee.
Current CLA honors students got the chance to show off what they have already learned about University life to the high school students through social activities, class visits and an overnight stay in the residence halls.
Brian Clark, a senior from Delano, Minn., said his biggest question coming into the program was what other honors students would be like. “I found out that a lot of them are a lot like me: dedicated students.”
Gordon Hirsch, director of the CLA Honors Division, told the group of incoming students to learn from the current students.
“This is student-run, and the students are excited to show you around,” Hirsch said.
Catherine Weber, the volunteer coordinator of Red Carpet Days, said this event was meant to supplement Office of Admissions programs by providing “honors” aspects.
For example, the incoming students spent Thursday night with a University student living in a residence hall.
“I didn’t think people would actually stay out that late,” said Lisa Cole, a senior from Maple Grove.
Colleen Gibbons used her overnight stay to answer questions about the myths of honors housing.
Gibbons’ host, freshman Renee Heyroth, thought the overnight stay was a good way to demonstrate that there are “normal people” living in honors housing.
“I was unsure about it before, but now … I feel totally good about living here,” Gibbons said.
Honors students also showed the high school students the academic side of college by taking them to a class.
“I saw more of what it was like to be a student, and now I know more of what to expect next year,” said April Murch of Clara City, Minn.
Incoming students also were given a chance to formally express some of their concerns and questions through an academic question and answer session.
Pamela Baker, assistant to the director of the CLA Honors Division, entertained the high schoolers’ queries, noting that most of the questions are phrased, “I don’t know if this is something that I should ask you, but …”
The organizers of the program, now in its second consecutive year, felt they were better prepared to answer student questions this year because of feedback from last year’s program.
Changes in organization and activities and more efficient delegation of responsibilities were credited with making Red Carpet Days a better experience for everybody.
“It was much better planned this year,” said Kristie Torborg, a CLA honors freshman who last year participated in Red Carpet Days as an incoming student.