TUHSSA, an undergraduate organization, has been reinstated on campus and is bringing history to life in more than one way.
Temple’s History and Social Sciences Association is back again, after disappearing at Temple for more than five years. But the student group’s co-presidents said it’s here for the long run this time and not to end up as another product of the past.
Senior history and Russian major Brad Horst and senior history and economics major Sarah Neergaard reinitiated the new-but-old group, which not only has plans to take a look back in time but is striving to engage students from the history, economics and political science departments into a more social atmosphere – something that “lacks in a formal classroom,” Neergaard said.
“We want to create a sense of community,” she said. “We want a closer relationship with our classmates, and this will act as that outlet.”
Aside from bonding with classmates, Neergaard and Horst have packed a slew of events for the group’s members, including workshops, a tutoring service and local trips.
Years ago, the former TUHSSA received funding to go on a three-week trip to Germany. Although Horst and Neergaard said they probably wouldn’t receive funding to travel out of the country, they plan to take advantage of the rich history Philadelphia offers.
“I don’t know if my wife would let me bum around Germany with a bunch of college students again,” Jay Lockenour, the club’s faculty advisor, said, “but there is always plenty to do where we live.”
Another intuitive addition the group has planned is the implementation of an online undergraduate journal. Horst and Neergaard said they hope to receive dozens of submissions from the history and other departments, but less than 10 will be chosen to publish. Because it’s extremely difficult to publish papers, the club’s leaders said having this kind of journal for undergrads might encourage the publication of students’ essays in graduate school.
The association also has intentions to craft a tutoring service into an integral aspect of its foundation. Horst is jumpstarting the new tutoring program, which he said won’t be assuming the Writing Center’s duties but instead, expanding students’ learning opportunities.
“We’re going to help students on their own levels with studying and papers and even just knowing what classes to expect,” Horst said.
Lockenour added that learning through peer-collaboration works as an effective method to build community in the social sciences.
“The group is going to make sure that our students aren’t just sliding through classes and checking the boxes on the graduation form alone,” he said. “We want to build community within the department, and we want to carry on that experience.”
Will Hitchcock, chair of the history department, said he supports the group, especially because it is already creating a profound solidarity to the department.
“These students are great ambassadors,” he said. “We need this camaraderie and the exchange of ideas to build ideas, and these students are leading the way to that.”
Students agree that meeting other students in the classroom is difficult and seem to be looking forward to this idea of academic camaraderie.
“History classes can get dry, and I think that this group will get very interesting,” said Tara Mortin, a sophomore history and Russian major, who was among more than a dozen students at TUHSSA’s first meeting Wednesday, Sept.16.
“I want to network and meet new people.” senior history and communications major Stephanie Twist said. “You can’t really socialize in history class.”
Matt Petrillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.