Beyond the Curriculum
“Song to mortals is sweetest…Music has the power of gladdening hearts…” — Aristotle, Politics, VIII, 3.
In addition to the singular benefits of study and discussion of great authors, the Honors College makes available to its students a variety of extra-curricular opportunities conducive to good cheer and camaraderie, social grace, a refined use of leisure, and the broadening effects of travel.
“It is true that work and leisure are both necessary; but it is also true that leisure is preferable, and is more of an end. We must consider therefore what we should do to occupy our leisure….Our very nature, as we have often remarked, seeks the power, not only to work in the right way, but also to use our leisure well.” — Aristotle, Politics, VIII, 3.
A Community of Friends
The good cheer, camaraderie, friendliness of students taking part in Honors education at Belmont Abbey is remarkable. In fact, it is not at all surprising or infrequent that in such an atmosphere and among young persons of excellent character genuine and lasting friendships emerge. Indeed, among great thinkers who have discerned what it is that lies at the heart of human friendship, Aristotle notes that “there is nothing so characteristic of friends as living together.” That is, the highest and most authentic friendships require much time together and shared activity. — For Honors College students, conversations will abound. The sounds of fine music and the sights of enthralling dance performances will gladden spirits. Stories and jesting will pepper shared meals. And, when taking part in Abbey-by-the Sea, students will find themselves playing in the surf between rich discussions and bike rides together. — When the time for Study Abroad comes, the presence of trusted companions will enhance the delights of travel. Joined by shared aspirations and values, the community of friends that is the Honors college will in the end be evidence of what Aristotle says about friendship: “The friendship of good persons is good and increases with the frequency of their meetings.”
Socrates to Antiphon: “Just as others are pleased by a good horse or dog or bird, I myself am pleased to an even higher degree by good friends… And the treasures of the wise men of old which they left behind by writing them in books, I unfold and go through them together with my friends, and if we see something good, we pick it out and regard it as a great gain if we thus become useful to one another.”
When a multitude of [young people], keen, open-hearted, sympathetic, and observant, as [young people] are, come together and freely mix with each other, they are sure to learn one from another, even if there be no one to teach them; the conversation of all is a series of lectures to each, and they gain for themselves new ideas and views, fresh matter of thought, and distinct principles for judging and acting, day by day.
—John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University
On several occasions during the course of an academic year, Honors College students are given opportunities to attend at little or no cost artistic performances in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina. Included in these opportunities are performances by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and visiting orchestras; dance performances by the extraordinary Charlotte Ballet Company and visiting dance companies; touring Broadway plays like Les Miz, Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific; Gilbert and Sullivan performances by Opera Carolina; performing artists in jazz and blue grass music; performances by the Ten Tenors and similar groups.
The Abbey By the Sea is an Academic Retreat: 3 nights, 2 days at Hilton Head Island. This Honors College opportunity is intended to provide to students a distinctive academic experience which combines serious and enjoyable reading (usually a Shakespearean play), vibrant group discussion enhancing interpretation of and reflection upon the literary work discussed, extended camaraderie and collaboration in a beautiful natural and architectural setting on one of the finest East coast beaches in this country.