Scholars in Action, a student group that tutors students at local middle schools, will be hosting its first ever Wesleyan Enrichment Days. The Enrichment Days, on Wednesday, April 22 and Tuesday, May 5, will take place on Foss Hill and offer a number of workshops to students from schools such as Keigwin Middle School and Woodrow Wilson Middle School.
Event organizers, Lily Wittrock ’16 and Rebecca Brand ’16, are currently looking for individuals and groups on campus who would be interested in leading workshops on a variety of different topics.
“These Enrichment Days are something we have been planning on doing with our kids [since] this group’s inception,” Wittrock and Brand wrote in an email to The Argus. “We go to Keigwin and Woodrow Wilson every week during their after school program to help with homework, and their enrichment activities (yoga, cooking, video game design, swimming, poetry). We are inviting the students to [the University] as an extension of the work we do with them every week creating a fun, educational environment.”
The two hope to help bridge the gap between the University and the Middletown community through Enrichment Day workshops. Potential topics include drawing, dance, science, and creative writing. In addition to these workshops, the days will include a campus tour and other activities.
“We are planning on starting with a big icebreaker outside, then taking tours around campus with [University] students,” Wittrock and Brand wrote. “After that, we will break out into smaller groups to participate in activities led by…student groups.”
According to the University’s ENGAGE blog, the workshops are expected to include 5 to 15 students for an engaging 40 minutes.
“If you are interested in education or just feel like frolicking on Foss with some hilarious preteens, then this may be the low-commitment opportunity for you,” the blog reads.
The organizers are hoping to work with different program houses, as well as student groups, to ensure that the days will allow the middle school students a glimpse of college life. In addition, the organizers wish to motivate students to attend colleges while also providing time for them to socialize with University students outside the classroom.
Rosy Capron ’14, a Civic Engagement Fellow at the University’s Center for Community Partnerships, has assisted in getting the project underway.
“Middle schoolers don’t know very much about what people study and do for fun in college, especially at a liberal arts college,” Capron said. “They take ‘Language Arts,’ ‘Social Studies,’ and ‘Science,’ not ‘Chinese Poetry,’ ‘Latin American History,’ or ‘Conservation Biology.’ The enrichment days are a great way for them to learn about the academic and extracurricular activities that make college worthwhile.”
She added that this event is the first of its kind in recent years.
“Students from the Middletown area come to campus for High School Humanities and programs in the Davison Arts Center, Van Vleck Observatory, and Mansfield Freeman Center, but I don’t believe we’ve tried anything very similar to the Enrichment Days in recent years,” Capron said.
The feedback from the student body has so far been positive. Scholars in Action have been working alongside the Office of Community Service to ensure that the day is possible.
“There are a lot of other groups that tutor in Middletown schools during the day but ours is the first specifically working with an established, structured after-school program for middle schoolers,” wrote Wittrock and Brand.