Incoming EC Scholars Kevin Nguyen, foreground, and Vivian Holt embark for a kayaking tour of Ocracoke Island during the EC Scholars retreat in August. (Photos courtesy of ECU Honors College)
By Jessica Nottingham
ECU Honors College
Between serious sessions of charades, beach games and group dinners, the incoming class of EC Scholars participated in leadership training that included topics such as professional etiquette, time management and work-life balance during a retreat the week before the start of fall semester.
Each year, East Carolina University’s Honors College hosts a retreat on Ocracoke Island for freshmen EC Scholars, recipients of ECU’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarship award. The retreat prepares this high-achieving new crop of students for a healthy and successful college career.
“The EC Scholar freshmen Ocracoke retreat is a unique opportunity for our incoming class to cultivate relationships and foster a strong sense of community before they arrive on campus,” said Dr. Todd Fraley, director of the EC Scholars program. “Over the course of three days, they participated in team-building activities, networked with faculty and upperclassmen EC Scholars and completed a leadership development program created by ECU’s Adventure office.”
Leadership training and team building exercises help build community within the new class of scholars.
ECU’s Adventure program took students through activities that brought awareness to various leadership styles, group problem-solving and building trust.
“Students arrive to college in a daze,” said Brad Beggs, assistant director of the ECU Adventure Program. “Among approximately 4,000 incoming students, most new freshmen feel lost, a bit alone and unsure how to have success. This type of orientation session lets the EC Scholars make friends before classes begin and learn specific skills that help them adapt to and succeed here at ECU.”
EC Scholar Lillie Malpass of Hallsboro observed the group learning the value of incorporating different ideas. “Most of us are natural leaders—we learned how to listen to each other and not always be in charge,” said Malpass. “We are all comfortable with leading and sharing ideas so we had to work with all of our different ideas during the activity.”
Taking advantage of the locale, the adventure program team led the class on a two-mile kayaking tour of Ocracoke, highlighting pirate and Revolutionary War history as well as some sea level rise concerns, said Beggs.
Wayne ’64 and Sherry ’74 Holloman of Greenville sponsored this year’s trip, making it cost-free for the students. “Thanks to donors like the Hollomans, our scholars enter their freshmen year with a sense of belonging and an awareness of the commitment ECU has made to their success,” said Fraley.
For more information about the Honors College and EC Scholars scholarship award program, visit www.ecu.edu/ecscholars.