• Donald Tetto

Sitting on her couch over winter break, first-year student Kavita Singh decided it was time for Southwestern to reach out to the Georgetown community in a new way. After growing up in the Silicon Valley of California where Stanford University was only a 45- minute drive away, Singh remembered the programming they had for high school students who were ready to learn anything and everything they could. Thus, the idea of “SU Splash” was born.

SU Splash will be a one-day program on Saturday, April 16, that is open to the students of Georgetown High School. Southwestern faculty and students will teach 50-minute classes on their topic of choice. This year’s classes include Poetry of Nonsense taught by freshman Jacob Brown; Love Me or Kill Me: Either Way, Do it Onstage taught by Junior Jasmine Thomas; CS Unplugged, a computer science course that will be taught by Professor Suzanne Buchele without using computers; and many more classes that focus on everything from Lady Gaga to human trafficking.

Twenty classes will be offered in all. “It is one day of exploration for students to get their feet wet in different subjects,” Singh said. Invitations have been extended to students at Georgetown High School as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Georgetown and other afterschool programs for high school students around the city.

The event will run from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with check-in in the Mood-Bridwell Hall Atrium and most classes in the Fondren-Jones Science Hall. Students are asked to bring a $5 admission fee, a sack lunch or money for the Commons, as well as a smile and an open mind.

“The difference between Splash classes is that every single person in the class wants to be there, the teachers are really excited about it, and it is on a topic that both teacher and student are passionate about,” Singh said.

After participating in Stanford Splash, Singh was eager to incorporate the program at Southwestern as well. The SU Splash program is supported by Learning Unlimited, a non-profit organization that supports and encourages the idea of students teaching students about their passions in order to hone in on leadership skills and the importance of education inside and outside the classroom. Southwestern is the first Splash chapter in Texas and now stands alongside schools such as MIT, Northwestern University, Duke University and Boston College that also have active Splash programs.

“It’s more of a sharing of passions than simply taking a class,” said senior and co-organizer Kelly Flinn.

Singh said she has gotten overwhelming support from the Southwestern community for their project. “The most rewarding thing has been meeting the really excited students who are interested in teaching,” she said.

Students are required, after submitting their topic proposal, to go through one hour of training. “Everyone has a file on their computer that is about some geeky thing that they love, and Splash is just tapping that,” Singh said..

To build on this year’s pilot program, Singh and her leadership team plan to not only open it up to both middle and high school, but also have a day of learning and exploration in the fall and spring semesters.

“My hope is that kids will walk away knowing that they can never stop learning, and understand that learning does not have to be in a classroom and it does not have to be by a teacher imparting knowledge to you,” Singh said. “It can simply be you seeking knowledge and trying something new.”

For more on SU Splash, visit http://susplash.learningu.org.

- Rosalie Bonner


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