By Audrey Holaday
Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 10, 2006) — The 2006 class of Walter Williams Scholars is taking the concept of social responsibility out of the newsroom and onto the streets.
The 44 first-semester freshmen at the Missouri School of Journalism, all of whom earned a 33 or above on the ACT (1470 on the SAT), have adopted a stretch of pavement on Locust Street between Fifth and Ninth streets in downtown Columbia. The stretch includes the office of the Missouri Press Association, which has been located just one block north of the School since moving out of Walter Williams Hall in 1970.
Although the city has not yet hung the scholars’ official Adopt-A-Spot sign, the group’s first clean-up day took place Oct. 29.
“Our thanks to the Walter Williams Scholars, whose donations of their time and energy are making this part of downtown a bit nicer,” said Doug Crews, Missouri Press Association executive director. “We salute them for reaching out to the Columbia community. Their service project is very much appreciated by businesses and property owners along Locust Street.”
Adopting a street has social benefits as well. Says one participant, the experience has been a great way to meet as many of their fellow scholars as possible.
“Cleaning streets has always been a good thing,” says Jessica Lin, a convergence journalism major from Grapevine, Texas. “Also, since it’s a community project, we get to meet Walter Williams Scholars whom we don’t hang out with on a regular basis.”
The clean-up project is only one of many opportunities the scholars have to get to know each other. For instance, the scholars automatically are enrolled in a special Freshman Interest Group. The FIG, a group of first-year students who share similar academic interests and live together in a residence hall, eases the transition from high school to college.
Brian Pellot, a convergence journalism major from Wausau, Wis., anticipates that the project could become a tradition for future classes of Walter Williams Scholars.
“I hope that future Walter Williams Scholars will continue to maintain our spot,” Pellot says. “If this year goes as well as I anticipate, there should be no reason for future classes not to want to do so.”
Audrey Holaday, a senior from Wildwood, Mo., will graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism in May 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism and a minor in sociology. She is also an active member of Delta Gamma. She served as an editorial intern at Best Body magazine in Manhattan while participating in the School’s New York Summer Program. She plans to write and edit for a sports magazine upon graduation.
Updated: April 16, 2020