McAuley Scholars House Open to All

Alisha Wein, Reporter

The McAuley Scholars House on Lake Street is open to upperclassmen in the fall.

The McAuley program will have 28 spots available. This year there were only 12 spots reserved for first year students.

This change comes only a year after the McAuley House was opened to service-oriented first year students as a trial run, Residence Life officials say.

The original vision for the program was to provide an opportunity for first year students to get better acclimated to their new community, said Kristen Samuels, Community Outreach Coordinator.

Officials were looking to create an environment and atmosphere where service-minded students looking for leadership opportunities and wanting to expand their resumes could be together.

First year students who are residents say the program gave them opportunities that they may not have been given if they had lived in other housing on campus.

“We got to work side-by-side with like-minded people and were able to do what we enjoy, service and helping others. Students were able to focus on areas of their choice such as volunteering at Blue Chip Farms, Girl Scouts at Solomon Elementary School in Wilkes-Barre, and tutoring kids,” said Tarissa Treaster, first year nursing major.

The residents agree that upperclassmen should be a part of their little community as well.

The house is not meant for only freshmen who need someone to help them adjust to college.

Officials decided to open the house to upperclassmen because they want to expand the program for the 2014-2015 school year.

“We believe that this is a model that a lot of people have an interest in. A lot of our students are service-oriented, and that is what our University is about,” she said.

Applicants must be recipients of the McAuley Scholarship to receive consideration to live in the house. Officials from Residence Life then look at the scholarship application to review each applicant’s score.

Officials then ask applicants a series of questions, including why they are involved in service and what their goals are in serving campus to find out why they want to be a part of the housing experience.

The McAuley Scholars House program also focuses on leadership skill-building, organizers say.

“It’s really an opportunity for these students to get more hands on, more attention, more specialized training that our general population doesn’t necessarily have. Because they have identified themselves as being service leaders, we can really focus a lot of our energy, resources, and time on those students when we have leadership conferences,” said Samuels.

She said more experienced students will help everyone to meet the program’s goals.

“It is important for us to have upperclassmen involved as well because there is a lot of adjustment going on for our first year students,” said Samuels. “I think with the introduction or addition of upperclassman, they know a lot of the ins and outs, the intricacies already, so it doesn’t have to be another meeting, it doesn’t have to be another conference or session, or whatever it may be. It can just be a general conversation that they have with one another, all of those little details that people can really help each other out along the way instead of trying to figure out everything from the very start,” said Samuels.

According to officials, application numbers are low, possibly because students are not aware of the opportunities that the house has to offer.

Rachel Holochuck, a first year occupational therapy major, said upperclassmen can provide a lot of insight underclassmen need.

“As a student in the White House it would have been helpful to know where to go for certain things, like to get a table, but we did have a great upperclassman Resident Assistant who was very helpful to us,” said Holochuck

The first year students relied heavily on Samuels who is very helpful, but because the house is supposed to be student-run, it would have been beneficial to have an upperclassman to turn to for advice in the program, said Holochuck.

Residents say that the next task is to get people interested.

“Living in the McAuley Scholars House is a great opportunity to get connected with the community and meet people outside of campus. It can broaden one’s horizons, allowing them to see that there is so much need in the community that we are living in and find out what we can do to help,” said Holochuck.

Students agree that being able to stay service-oriented while focusing on their college studies is remarkable, and they are grateful for the opportunity.

Students are required to do 30 service hours per semester as well as one service project as a house each semester, said Samuels.

Students should know that being a part of the McAuley Scholars- house is not only an honor, but also a privilege, organizers said.

For more information contact Kristen Samuels or A.J Nudo.

[email protected]