Orientation

tuletters

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
  • Get involved in Honors student life programs such as HCLC and book clubs

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 & Residence Life.

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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? 
  3. 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 of evictions?
  4.  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?
  5. 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?   
  6. 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?
  7.  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)? 
  8. 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? 
  9. 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? 
  10. 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 .