5C Students Make A Splash

Splash, an organization offering classes taught by college students to high school students, will be coming to the 5Cs for the 2013-2014 school year.

The program is currently in development under the leadership of Lenore Byers PZ ’16 and Ana Villa HM ’16. 

Splash already exists at schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, University of Chicago, Amherst College, and Boston College. At least one weekend a year, each school will organize a variety of one to three hour-long workshops for high school students in a variety of subjects, from juggling to physics to poetry, all taught by students of the host college. The Splash program works with Learning Unlimited, a nonprofit dedicated to helping colleges across the country set up their own Splash programs.

“Splash is here to encourage learning and education; it does not matter [at] what campus it is held. Splash seeks to encourage students to re-learn the fun of learning,” Villa said.

MIT started the original Splash 25 years ago and now has roughly 3,000 students as part of the program, running workshops on ballroom dance, engineering, and even one on the history of Star Wars, among others.

“Now, our Splash will be much, much smaller. Apparently most Splashes start with around 80 to 100 students their first year,” Byers said.

Both Byers and Villa participated in Splash as high school students and therefore bring a level of experience to the implementation of this project.

“I went to Stanford Summer Splash [starting] my junior year of high school, and I really enjoyed having a fun weekend where I learned a lot of random information, hung out with friends, and explored areas of academic interest,” Villa said.

Byers attended MIT Splash, where her older sister was the director during her junior and senior years of high school.

Although many colleges and universities provide programs such as open houses and events for prospective and admitted students, Splash differs in its emphasis on learning. The schools’ admissions offices are not involved, and a high school student’s participation does not have an effect on whether they are admitted later on.

“The point and goal of Splash is to encourage learning and teaching. Because learning should be fun. This differs from admissions [events] because it is student-taught, -run, and -initiated,” Byers said. 

Both Byers and Villa also recognized the lack of such a program at the 5Cs—something that exposes high school students to college without the pressure of the application process.

Since the project is still in its early stages of development, Byers and Villa are currently focusing on spreading the word about Splash across the 5Cs.

“Our main goals right now are to set up a club and work on a website. Next year, we will focus more on the actual planning from recruitment of teachers and students to reserving rooms. We really need to find a core group willing to put in the time to make this happen,” Byers said.

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