All Athena Scholars are required to complete a social action project in their Senior Seminar. Each of these projects demonstrates our Scholars’ creativity and leadership in solving social problems through entrepreneurship, education, and advocacy.
The projects are based on the students’ interests and course of study, but mere participation in an existing civic engagement program will not be sufficient. Rather students must play a significant leadership role in the endeavor. Students present their projects to their peers, obtain both positive feedback and critical response, and work collaboratively in teams to improve the effectiveness of their projects. Each project must:
- Be implemented in partnership with an off-campus organization or business (no Barnard or Columbia campus organizations are allowed);
- Be a project that the student feels passionate about and is willing to invest significant time to complete;
- Demonstrate her leadership skills and makes her stretch outside of her comfort zone;
- Be a realistic project, i.e., must be executed within the semester and if they are creating a business, it must have realistic expectations and goals that can be reached within a semester;
- Contribute to the common good.
Students have created a wide range of projects and ventures, including a website that collects and sells donated jewelry on behalf of a non-profit, a rock-climbing program for disabled youth, and a mural arts program in an upstate city.
Every social action project is showcased at the Athena Year-End Party in the Spring Semester.