The Periclean Scholars program at Elon University is the centerpiece of Project Pericles, which is committed to raising the level of civic engagement and social responsibility of the entire university community. Students inducted into the Periclean Scholars program take a series of academic courses (18sh total) culminating in a Class project of global social change. The project is designed and carried out by the cohort of students from each year's Class under the direction of their faculty Mentor.
Periclean Scholar classes are typically small. Potential projects are globally oriented, with the specific project chosen by each cohort. Imagine such projects as faciltating the building a clinic in rural Ghana, or perhaps partnering with an international organization to address the issue of land mines in Sri Lanka.
Although not a strictly a requirement in the program, every one of the 14 past Classes has had members of the Class travel to their country of focus. COR 445, the capstone course for Pericleans, is designed with travel to the country in mind and is scheduled for Winter term senior year. Most Classes have found compelling justifications to send large contingents of their Class to the country of focus, many Classes organizing multiple experiences over their three years together.
Two years ago our program coordinated with the Redwoods Group Foundation to put in place internship experiences for up to four Pericleans per academic year. Internships through the Pericleans major are frequently dovetailed with the Class’ partnership initiatives.
All Pericleans do constant research on their country of focus and the issue(s) they have chosen with their partners. This research supports partnership activities and has taken the form of SURF presentations, documentaries and collaboration on research projects with their Mentors.
Perhaps the defining focus of the program is engaged learning with the key element of creating meaningful partnerships with people and/or organizations in the Class’ country of focus that are designed to make a positive impact regarding some social and /or environmental problems. ‘Serve with, not for’ is our program’s guiding sentiment.
Periclean Scholars are responsible for their Class direction and decisions and leadership opportunities are built into the way the courses are structured. Every Scholar must take leadership in one fashion or another during their three-year experience. Significant leadership opportunities include serving as the Class Steering Committee representative, heading up the annual Celebrating night in the fall, Induction of the new Class in the spring, organizing the hosting of Pericleans-in-Residences, organizing both on-campus and international conferences, and taking leadership on specific class meetings.