Honors Student Organizations Go Virtual

Written by: Stephanie Cobb

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the lives of UF Honors students in countless ways. Between Zoom classes and mask-wearing, the Fall 2020 semester certainly looks different than anyone could have imagined at the beginning of the year. The pandemic has also posed a challenge to Honors student organizations, which have had to adjust their usual activities to an online format. Take a look below at some of the ways that these organizations have adapted in order to keep students safe.

Student Honors Organization (SHO):

If you have attended a social event at Hume during your time at UF, chances are it was put on by SHO. While some traditions, such as the annual SHO barbeque, were postponed until next semester, the organization has offered a wide variety of fun virtual events for Honors students. At the start of the semester, SHO held several online Weeks of Welcome events, including a scavenger hunt and a trivia night, to introduce this year’s freshmen to the Honors community. Additionally, Haunted Hume, a cherished Halloween tradition, returned this year in a socially distant format, allowing students the opportunity to visit a haunted trail and enjoy festive snacks with friends. Be sure to stay on the lookout for SHO’s upcoming events!

Honor Chords:

Honor Chords is the student-run acapella group of the Honors Program. At the start of the semester, the group’s executive board was faced with lag, the same problem that has plagued all musical groups during the pandemic\. While Zoom is effective for lectures and discussions, the inherent slowness of the program means that it is difficult to sing in unison. Additionally, the size of the group posed a challenge in terms of organizing safe in-person performances. To resolve these issues, the group decided to release an album at the end of the semester in lieu of performing. The album will feature a medley of songs by the Jonas Brothers, as well as some holiday favorites. Honor Chords meets virtually every week to socialize and practice, with members muting themselves as they sing to not overwhelm Zoom. While the Honor Chords experience looks different this semester than it has in the past, the group is still able to do what they love and bond with each other over music.

Luminaries:

The Luminaries are the official student ambassadors of the Honors Program who can typically be found giving prospective Honors students tours of Hume Hall. With tours suspended for the semester, the organization had to find a new way to connect with high school students who are considering the Honors Program. The solution came in the form of virtual information sessions with the families of potential Honors students. These sessions are led by Dr. Mark Law, the director of the Honors Program, and a few Luminaries at a time. The Luminaries are more than happy to share their experiences and answer questions about life as an Honors Gator. Even through a webcam, their enthusiasm for the program shines through.

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