During Winter Term, ‘Burst the Bubble’ courses encouraged students to stay involved

Students led these free, non-credit courses that allow them to share their skills with their peers.

Since 2007, student facilitators have devoted time during Winter Term to lead their peers in free, non-credit courses. These ‘Burst the Bubble’ courses encourage students to explore their personal interests at a deeper level. This year, 20 available programs also offered the opportunity to meet other students who share similar interests.

“These programs help students reach a wider audience than they might normally have in their social circle,” said Dean of Student Development Jodean Schmiederer. “They really help to build community around something where there’s a personal connection and a passion around the subject.”

Any student is able to facilitate or participate in a course. The programs are funded by the Division of Student Life, and students receive a small budget to purchase supplies for their course, such as cooking ingredients or scrapbooking material.

A weekly ukelele jam session titled “Uke Can Do It!” was among this year’s offerings.

Addie Holden ‘23 was inspired to lead “Bullet Journaling Your Way: Creating a Personalized Planner or Memory Book.” Participants received the essential materials and skills to start their own bullet journals, which combine art and planning together into a unique diary.

“I want to get students excited about bullet journaling and give them the resources and the time to get started,” Holden said. “If you are not an artist, it can be daunting. I wanted to bring together people interested in bullet journaling, especially if they have wanted to try but never committed.”

Holden, who had attended “Burst the Bubble” courses in previous years, enjoyed sharing her passion with her peers. In her weekly course, she shared scrapbooking techniques and handwriting styles that she had learned from websites such as Pinterest and Youtube. The course also allotted time for students to work on their journaling and put pen to paper.

While the Elon Student Involvement screens each program for safety, there is no other faculty or staff involvement in teaching the courses. These programs do not include homework, tests, outside assignments, or grades.

Among the courses offered during Winter Term was Introduction to Floral Design taught by Sydney Steinberg.

“We’re not bumping into people like we used to,” said Schmiederer. “I know our newer students were struggling to find connections, and our upperclassmen were missing their usual social routine. This provides a great opportunity to come together.”

While a few courses took place virtually, most were held in person. Program sizes were decreased to allow for physical distancing. Participants sat at least six feet apart and were masked the entire time, but students were grateful to have an opportunity to make new connections in person.

Emma Bassett ‘21 designed a program called “EMURGE: Come into Your Life with Persistence and Passion,” where she encouraged students to invest more in themselves. Each week, Bassett led discussions and activities that promoted self-reflection, gratitude, and planning.

“Elon students are creative, they have passions, and I want to learn about how they involve these in their daily life, or help them to do so if they weren’t,” said Bassett, when explaining the inspiration behind EMURGE.  “I also thought that students could benefit from a reminder to put themselves first, to ultimately find the areas where they can add more of what they enjoy to their life.”

Bassett enjoys motivating others and was enthusiastic to incorporate her passions into her course. She wanted her peers to be able to tap into their freedoms and become more aware of what they could each accomplish.

“I would tell other students that they should absolutely participate in a program because there is nothing to lose, and always something to gain,” said Bassett.

More information about this year’s Burst the Bubble courses and a full list of past programs can be found here.