The Honors College Orientation is held twice a year: once prior to the start of the
fall semester for new and transferring Towson University students and again prior
to the start of the spring semester for current Towson University students admitted
to the Honors College as well as new and transferring students. Honors Orientation
is a required program designed to introduce incoming students to the foundations of
undergraduate honors education at Towson University. Honors Orientation provides new
students and students transferring from other institutions opportunities to:
Learn about important requirements and specialized Honors resources
Meet upperclass Honors students and Honors alumni
Start building relationships with Honors faculty and staff members
Gather information about distinguished scholarships and fellowships
Fall Orientation for Honors students admitted for the fall semester is typically held
in August on the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the start of the fall semester. Spring
Orientation for students admitted for the spring semester is typically held in the
first week of the semester.
Spring 2018 Orientation
Spring Orientation is required for incoming freshmen, students transferring from other
institutions, and internal transfers. There is no cost to attend. All new, enrolled students will
be emailed details regarding the program in January.
Fall 2017 Orientation
Fall Orientation is required for incoming freshmen and students transferring from
other institutions. There is no cost to attend. Enrolled incoming students are required
to register online to confirm their attendance at Honors Orientation. Registration
for Honors Orientation has closed.
Honors Orientation will take place on Wednesday, August 23 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and
Thursday, August 24 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Schedule details and additional information
were sent to incoming students in early August.
Incoming Honors students who elect to live on-campus move in early to their assignments
on Wednesday, August 23, one day earlier than incoming TU students who are not members
of the Honors College. Returning Honors students, and all incoming students living
in Douglass House but not part of the Honors College, have separate move-in date and
time. All students must follow the move-in timeline provided to them by Housing &
HONORS COLLEGE READ
A common read is a required part of the Honors Orientation experience in August. This
program provides an opportunity for Honors students to read and explore issues that
contribute to broad intellectual development while also fostering intellectual ties
between Honors students, faculty and staff.
The 2017 Honors College Read is "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" by Matthew Desmond.
Incoming students must prepare a written, typed response to the following ten questions.
Please write as much as you'd like. Some questions may only require a sentence or
two while others may need a longer response. Responses will be collected, so be sure
to include your full name.
Desmond discusses that three out of four families that qualify for housing assistance
receive nothing (p.59) and that evictions lead individuals and families to rush into
new housing, frequently making bad choices and results in long term housing issues
(p. 69). Desmond also points out that landlords are often unwilling to rent to families
with children. How do these influence the families we see in this book and their
experiences in the housing market and with evictions? What might be some solutions
to help with the lack of affordable housing and the discrimination that is faced by
families in the rental housing market?
It is discussed early in the book how a healthy and engaged community needs people
to stick around and look after the neighborhood (p. 70) – people who are invested
and care. Desmond supports this and suggests that the power of the tenants depends
upon the willingness of them to stand up however, most see themselves as just ‘passing
through’ and are less engaged and have a lack of faith in the community to help (p.
182). How has this influenced the communities and the voice of families and individuals
renting properties in low income neighborhoods?
Desmond does an excellent job in the book presenting how drugs, alcohol and both physical
and psychological trauma impact the story of evictions and how the cycles of poverty
and eviction are so critically linked. One component of the story that is not well
discussed in the book is education. Where do you see education fitting into the stories
of individuals and families in Evicted? How does education impact the intergenerational impact of poverty and the problem
How are non-payment of rent handled by landlords? Lenny states, “It depends what
their excuses are” (p. 128) suggesting that some considered whether the tenant had
any money coming to them in the near future before making a decision to serve them
with eviction papers. However, Desmond suggests that how a tenant handles the situation
can make a difference; while men will confront a landlord and attempt to negotiate
(doing odd jobs, or making a deal with the landlord), women were more likely to avoid
confrontation with the landlord (it is argued that they faced greater taxations on
their time with child care, work or welfare requirements) or if they did negotiate
then they were offering sex for rent which comes at a much greater personal cost.
How do these sex differences influence the likelihood of eviction and the intergenerational
impact of facing an eviction?
One of the most troubling issues discussed by Desmond in Evicted is the connection between evictions and domestic abuse. We see that landlords penalize
tenants for making 911 calls or any nuisance at the property, so a domestic abuse
call to the police can get the woman and her children evicted. Desmond shares in
the book (p. 192) that during the time he was writing this book, the number of murders
by romantic partners increased and that the police response to the public was, “why
not call 911”? Why did poor women stop calling the police?
It is discussed multiple times by Desmond that the poor are more present oriented
(we see that one tenant asked the landlord for money back from the rent they paid
so they could buy Christmas gifts for their kids and the landlord responded that they
should have known Christmas was coming eleven months ago) then those with more income.
Desmond also discussed the Psychological research suggesting that under certain conditions
of scarcity people prioritize now and lose sight of the future (p. 115). How does
this present oriented-ness hurt the poor in particular with housing and the likelihood
of being evicted? Where do we see this come up in the book with the families or individuals
that are part of the book?
Desmond states that, “Most Milwaukeeans believe their city was racially segregated
because people preferred it that way. But the ghetto had always been more a product
of social design than desire.” (p. 249). What does he mean? What, or who, kept Milwaukee
segregated and how does this segregation influence the attitudes and behaviors of
the families in the book, in particular Pam and Ned (p. 236 where she states that
she would rather give her landlord everything then live on a block where most of her
neighbors were not white) or the experience of Crystal and Vanetta (p. 249)?
Desmond writes, “Children don’t shield families from eviction: they expose them to
it.” We see this (p. 287) with Arleen when her son’s outburst in school resulted
in the family being asked to leave their apartment. How does this influence the effects
of poverty and evictions on men compared with women?
What do you think about Sherrena and Quentin by the end of the book? Desmond discusses
them indirectly in the Epilogue when he is talking about the inequality that exists
between those that are renters and those that are landlords. Desmond states, “there
are two freedoms at odds with each other: the freedom to profit from rents and the
freedom to live in safe and affordable home.” How does this conflict mold your attitudes
about Sherrena and Quentin?
August 10th, NPR reported that the two largest housing rental companies are merging and that
this merger is likely to have an impact on the rental market in areas such as Florida,
much of the West Coast and Texas. Given what you know from this book, how is this
likely to impact poor families in these areas?
The goals of the Honors College Read are:
Provide incoming students a chance to connect with other students
Provide incoming students simulated classroom discussion experience led by faculty
Provide students with a learning opportunity that relates to the academic expectations
of the Honors College
Create an opportunity for critical thinking and ethical engagement
If you have any questions about Honors Orientation programs, please feel free to contact
us at 410-704-4677 or at honors AT_TOWSON.