October 9, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 2

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    RSO makes a big ‘SPLASH!’
    High school students jump into learning from undergraduates

    By Julia Morse
    News Office

    Photos by Bruce Powell
    Students in the College recently developed and taught classes to high school students who visited campus Saturday, Oct. 4. The student organization Splash, provided high schoolers with a wide variety of class choices. Clockwise, from top left, Max Shron shares some insights about conceptualizing graphic artworks and how to further develop those ideas. One of the oldest American hobbies, knitting, was taught by Maura DeBattista to a group of attentive, novice knitters, while Luca Winer demonstrates to her group of students how to improvise in a comedy sketch. Kailin Liu brings a level of practicality to the day of Splash classes with a course titled “Money, How to Use it Wisely.”

    A new student organization made a bigger splash on campus this year, when it welcomed more than 200 high school students from more than 30 Chicago-area schools to campus to take classes on everything from pasta making to how to dissect a brain.

    College students taught the classes Saturday, Oct. 4 through the Community Service RSO called Splash. Fourth-year and Splash founder Luke Joyner, who co-directs the program with third-year Race Wright, said they wanted to take their programming up a notch this year, after Splash’s successful, yet smaller-scale, 2007 debut.

    “This year, I spent the entire month of September visiting high schools around the city,” Joyner said. “I talked to teachers, counselors and classrooms full of students at dozens of schools around the city.”

    Most of the students who participated in Splash on Saturday attend Chicago Public Schools, however, a handful of students from other schools also came to campus for the program.

    “I really wanted a great mix of students from all different schools, and that is exactly what we got,” Joyner said. “This was our chance to open our doors to them and expose them to things that they’ve never seen before.

    “It was hectic, exciting and extremely rewarding for all of us—students, teachers and everyone involved in Splash,” Joyner added.

    About 80 College students taught 90 courses during the five-hour event, which took place in Harper, Stuart, Wieboldt, Classics and Social Sciences.

    Classes, which College students had the freedom to design, included “Introduction to Sketch Comedy,” “Milky Way is Not Just a Candy Bar,” “Primate Behavior and Conservation,” “The Dark Knight Abides,” “The Supreme Court and Racial Equality,” “Exploring Fairy Tales,” “Introduction to Arabic Language,” “A Quick Course in Public Persuasion,” “Pasta Making,” “The Future of America,” “Knitting 101” and “Brain Dissection.”

    “The variety in class topics was crucial to me in planning Splash this year,” Joyner said. “I wanted as wide a range as possible—the more variety we offered, the more students we could get involved.”

    Splash will hold a similar event next year, which Joyner said he hopes will be even bigger. “I hope we can help the event continue to grow every year,” he said.

    Additional information about Splash is available at http://uchicago-splash.mit.edu.