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Honors Program starts new tradition with tailgate party before GTA production

2017-11-20-HonorsProgramTailgate
Students with the University of North Georgia (UNG) Honors Program on the Gainesville Campus sponsored a tailgate event Nov. 15 before the Gainesville Theatre Alliance's production of "Crazy for You." Attendees, from left, included Dr. Tanya Bennett, dean of the Honors Program and professor of English at UNG; students Ray and Castiel Dixon; Dr. Molly Daniels, assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at UNG; and students Cameron Barker, Abigail English and Heidi Martin.

Chicken wings, chips and dip, and an assortment of beverages are normal fanfare before a football game, but those foods seemed slightly out of place for a night at the theater.

However, Dr. Tanya Bennett and the University of North Georgia (UNG) Honors Program changed that. She and five honors program students from UNG’s Gainesville Campus started a new tradition Nov. 15 by sponsoring a tailgate party before the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA) production "Crazy for You."

"We don't have a sports team here on the Gainesville Campus, but we do have the GTA," said Bennett, who is dean of the Honors Program and professor of English at UNG. "Tailgating is a great time to bond and enjoy our community and develop pride for our university."

Bennett said she hopes to make the fun potluck-style event a tradition at UNG to encourage the student body to get to know each other outside of the classroom. She also hopes students will take advantage of watching the productions by GTA, a nationally acclaimed collaboration of UNG, Brenau University, theater professionals, and the northeast Georgia community.

"They do very impressive productions," Bennett said. "Why go all the way to Atlanta for theater when GTA puts on such fine plays and musicals?"

Bennett said that GTA’s “Crazy for You” showcases an amazing pool of talent, featuring several “beloved Gershwin songs, as well as incredible tap dancing and sets.”

Heidi Martin, who is in the Honors Program, looked forward to the tailgate party. The sophomore majoring in nursing from Cleveland usually only sees other Honors Program students during monthly meetings or in honors' classes. But the tailgate party gave her the chance to hang out with them and other UNG students.

"I'm excited to do it," Martin said. "Because the Gainesville Campus is a commuter campus, a lot of students just come to class and go home. So this was an opportunity to get to know one another in a fun and casual setting."

Martin explained the Honors Program has helped her connect with students on the Gainesville Campus since the Honors classes are smaller with the familiar faces, allowing her to get to know them better.

The Honors Program also has had a side effect on Martin's grades and class participation.

"Now that I'm in it, it makes me keep my grades up," she said, explaining that the classes are not harder, just formatted differently. "They focus on discussion, and we do extra projects. You have more interaction with each other. That's what I like about it."

To apply for the Honors Program, current UNG students and transfer students must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher. For incoming first-year students, a 3.5 high school GPA and an SAT score of 1200 (verbal and math) or ACT score of 25 are required.

Once students are accepted, they must:

  • Take twenty-four hours of honors classes for bachelor’s level distinction
  • Complete an honors thesis at the end of their bachelor's degree
  • Attend monthly Honors Program meetings
  • Complete five hours of volunteer work each semester

For more information or to apply, visit the Honors Program website.

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