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Honors Conference Week


Christy Blevins – Honors Conference Week “8 days around the world”

“8 days around the world,” titled the week of February 10 – 17 for Honors Conference Week. The week held multiple events including guest speakers, an honors hike, and ending with a talent show for all students to enjoy.

Honors Conference Week is an event held annually, hosted by Honors for Honors, and all Roanoke College students are encourage to attend. Honors students carry around a “passport” to each event in order to get a sticker to redeem a raffle ticket at the final event. Each sticker is one ticket.

The week started off with a Coral Reef Coffee Shop talk in which students gathered in Olin’s Upper Smoyer Gallery to discuss the current devastation to coral reefs.  Professor Jan Minton and Dr. Darwin Jorgenson started up a discussion circle after a video presentation, and engaged students with thoughtful facts and conversation.

While attending the Coral Reef event, students enjoyed Cups Coffee as refreshment. After the discussion students then ventured down into the gallery to view the Metabolic Crochet Coral Reef.  The Coral Reef is made from a collection of crocheted coral pieces and coral reef life. The display made an large impact on students after the discussion.

After viewing the “dead” reef, Roanoke Honors student Taryn Johnson said, “There is something indescribably beautiful yet eerily haunting about the sight of a pure white reef.”

The week continued on Tuesday February 12, with a lecture by keynote speaker Paul Chappell, on “Why World Peace is Possible and How We Can Achieve it.” Students gathered in Wortmann Ballroom to listen to Chappell’s talk about the myths that surround war and how we must “wage peace in order to solve” the problems of the 21st century.

Another Honors student, Alex Reynolds, said, “Paul Chappell gave interesting insight about human tendencies toward peace and aggression during his talk.”

The talk covered many topics from how to train soldiers, the feeling of nationalism, and to the morals and dehumanizing effects of war. Following the keynote talk was a reception and book signing for students.  Chappell is the author of three books: Will War Ever End, The End or War, and Peaceful Revolution.

Wednesday, students had the chance to hear a talk from another great speaker, Kelsey Kees. In Garrett, located in Colket Center, students gathered to hear guest speaker Kees discuss her work with House of Hope and her own personal story.  Throughout Honors Conference Week, House of Hope jewelry was on sell during lunch blocks until February 17.

According to Honors Treasurer Kaitlyn Bell, “$533.25 [was raised] for House of Hope’s non-profit organization. This donation will support a Nicaraguan woman and her family for 106 weeks.”

Regarding Kees’ talk, Reynolds said, “I enjoyed listening to Kelsey Kees speak about her experiences working with House of Hope in Nicaragua. Though many of the women involved come from difficult situations, it is uplifting to hear about their triumphs and bright futures.”

Kees’ discussion about House of Hope rounded out the lecture portion of Honors Conference Week and gave way to “A Taste of the World” on Thursday. At 7 pm on Valentine’s Day, twelve groups of students gathered to give students a taste of food from around the world. Such food included dishes from Kenya, Puerto Rico, Germany, Liberia, Spain, Greece, Japan, Brazil, Austria, Czech Republic, and two from Mexico. Among the samples of food were Pico de Gallo, Peanut Soup from Liberia, and Austrian Strudel, and much more.

Students walked through a line to sample each food and enjoyed a light, social event. The students who participated in making the samples were judged by various judges.

Friday gave way to the Honors hike to Saw tooth Trail. The hike took about 30 minutes up, and once they reached the destination, the students who went on the hike rested, looked out at the view, and played around. The hike gave students a chance to connect with the world around them as part of the “8 days Around the World,” theme.

Student Kadie Dugan said, “It was a really pretty day and perfect temperature [for the hike]. We took some pictures, and took in the beautiful view, and then hiked back down…a different and more difficult way.”

The final event of the Conference Week was the Roanoke College Talent Show. Held on Saturday February 16, at 7:30 pm in the ballroom, students filled the seats and enjoyed refreshments during the performances. The talent show had ten performances in all and one 15 minute intermission. After all the performances the judges, Honors President Brittany Evans, Dr. Michael Hakkenberg, and Honors new president Kaitlyn Bell, picked the first, second, third, and most fun performance winners.

Taking first place at the talent show was Rita Yoe and Jordan O’Brien. The duet performed the popular “Wagon Wheel” and got a loud cheering response from the audience. Jordan O’Brien played on his acoustic guitar and Rita Yoe sang and played violin.

Second place was awarded to William Groth for his guitar performances, including an original piece as one of his performances. With no vocals and just his guitar, Groth won over the audience and the judges.

The third place prize was awarded to Victoria Godwin. Godwin performed her own take of the “Cup Song” made popular from the hit movie “Pitch Perfect.” Godwin had originally planned to perform with a partner but ended up solo as her partner was not able to make the performance.

Shaina Lidd and Andrew March (and company) was awarded the “Most Fun Performance” award for their take of the “Yes Dance.” Perhaps gaining the biggest roar from the audience, Lidd and March danced around the stage and acted out the dance with the help of other shockingly dressed background dancers.

Brittany Evans said, “It was great to see a variety of acts, both funny and musical…My favorite was the “Yes Dance” because it was just so funny and John Stang [was] in glitter pants.”

Honors Conference officially ended on Sunday February 17, with the final sale of House of Hope jewelry.

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