Launch into Spring 2020 with the Honors LLCs!

by efuthey

The University Honors Program’s First-Year Honors LLCs kicked off the Spring 2020 semester with a high energy Spring Launch Day! On Saturday, January 11th, our Honors LLCs came together to solidify their communities through themed activities, planned and facilitated by their HLLAs and their LLC Coordinators.


The Book Club LLC, led by HLLA Lindsay Talemal and Coordinator Brooke Hoger, discovered a secret gem in the Trident Bookstore and Café on Newbury Street. After brunch, the students explored the bookstore, which is a staple in Boston’s literary community. Lindsay said that the students were quite excited to find this hidden gem and made plans to soon return.


Other LLCs ventured beyond Boston’s city lines. The Social Change and Empowerment LLC, led by HLLA Anja Deric and Coordinator Rebecca Riccio, took a tour of the Taza Chocolate factory in Somerville. Taza is a sustainable chocolate producer, and the students learned how Taza ensures every step of the process is ethically and sustainably sourced through their direct trade program. Anja said the students “also got to taste a lot of Taza’s unique chocolate flavors, including cinnamon, coffee, raspberry, and many more” throughout the tour.


Taza also hosted the Foodies – EV 10 LLC, led by HLLA Lillia Merbouche and Coordinator Maureen Timmons. Lilia gave us an inside peek at the LLC’s experience through a takeover of the Honors Instagram! Also heading beyond Boston was the Globetrotters (A) LLC, led by HLLA Chelsea Lau and Coordinator Matt Lee. They traveled to Malden for Boda Borg and Dim Sum.


Some LLCs collaborated on their activities, building community across their themes. Foodies – EV 12 and Leadership, with HLLAs Kelly Breq and  Dan Snyers Pont and Coordinators Steve Savistky and Shannon Fairley-Pittman, brought in John Fenlon, famous Boston-area chef, for a sushi demonstration and workshop. As the students constructed their sushi creations, Fenlon discussed the importance of delegation, communication, and teamwork, and how these qualities translate to a variety of careers, from the kitchen to the boardroom. Kelly shared that “dozens of rolls were made with students creating artistic designs on sushi trays to post on Instagram and snapchat while others ate each piece as they made it,” letting the students exercise their creativity through experiential learning while connecting to the broader themes of leadership and teamwork.


The Gaming LLC and both Technological Innovation and Creativity LLCs (EV 7 & EV 9) joined forces to take over Trapology Boston for their launch, with their HLLA Cullen Lampasso and Coordinators Brian O’Connell and Duncan Davis. Trapology is an escape room venue and the LLCs mastered the different rooms. As Cullen reported, “nearly all the teams successfully escaped. We had 3 teams that set records for fastest times escaping in 2020!”


Both Outdoor Adventure LLCs (EV 2 & EV 8) launched into the spring semester together, with a trip to Kings Bowling and Arcade, led by HLLAs Maia Woodard and Ashley Apro and Coordinators Kate Berge and Carrie Klaphake. They headed to the Seaport area after indulging in cookies, cocoa, and cider provided by Flour Bakery and Café, and then went to Kings, where, as Maia noted, “everyone was able to enjoy the time together playing games and learning new things.”


Explore Boston: Arts & Culture (A) and Artistes, led by HLLA Alex Spak and Coordinators Rebekah Moore and Megan O’Hara, went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The students were provided packs of oil pastels and drawing pads and set off on their own to draw. Students also went on a self-guided tour of the museum and learned about its history and the famous art heist of 1990. Alex said that “The students all thought the museum was extremely beautiful, and especially enjoyed sitting in the warm garden… the students noticed that all the plants in the garden were still in pots and not planted into the soil. We think they must constantly rotate out the plants to make sure the garden always looks its best.”


The last team-up for the launch was Music Lovers (A & B). The whole group, led by HLLA Pam Stravitz and Coordinators Andrew Mall and Jacob Stump, attended the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s performance that evening. They saw Alain Altinoglu conduct Debussy, Poulenc, and Saint-Saëns featuring organist Thierry Escaich in the beautiful Symphony Hall.


Globetrotters B, led by HLLA Ebele Okafor and Coordinator Barbie Papalios, went global right in Boston as they explored the Travel and Adventure Show. Explore Boston: Community Service, led by HLLA Doug Read and Coordinator Tim Krumreig, spent their day giving back to the Boston community with a service day at Room To Grow in Hyde Park. Athletics – EV 12, with Coordinator Tim Troy, went to the Boston Common Frog Pond, and Animal Enthusiasts, with Coordinator Michelle Dubow, explored the Museum of Science. Explore Boston: Healthy Living, with HLLA Alex Margulies and Coordinator Ciara O’Donnell, explored the Fenway and Time Out Boston Market.


It was an impressive slate of activities for our Honors LLCs. We are excited to see what the spring semester holds for everyone!