As a college founded to train teachers, Winthrop has sought to engage its students with memorable lessons to draw on for a lifetime. In today’s classes, that could mean collaborating with a professor on a research project, participating in a service-learning project or helping craft public art. Here are some of this year’s highlights:
The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll recognized Winthrop in the spring for its exemplary community service programs in 2009-10. This is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive for its commitment to service learning and civic engagement. Winthrop earned high marks for three efforts: the York County Hunger project to collect and provide meals for needy children, seniors and area emergency agencies; a Potato Drop where students bagged 40,000 potatoes to distribute to food pantries and soup kitchens; and a Students in Free Enterprise initiative which focused on helping high school students with financial literacy, ethics, life skills and entrepreneurship.
Winthrop’s first three McNair Scholars graduated in December and another 10 in May out of an inaugural class of 25. The scholarships, named for the late astronaut Ronald McNair of Lake City, S.C., go to students who are first-generation college or come from low-income families and who want to attend graduate school. As part of the program, the scholars worked on individual summer research projects with a faculty member and then presented their findings at a conference to McNair Scholars at other schools. Winthrop scholars captured three of 21 awards.
Sculpture students learned firsthand about public art as they created a series of decorated poles to display in downtown Rock Hill. Another class worked with the Rock Hill Bike Club and the city of Rock Hill to fashion creative bike racks for downtown and Cherry Road. Those efforts, coupled with a partnership for students to organize and display their works at the first downtown Muse Fest, demonstrated how creative partnerships can flourish.