Students from the Sophomores-Serve program


Sophomores-Serve combines hands-on learning and community service with public policy research.

Sophomores-Serve (Soph-Serve) is a two-semester program that provides Honors College sophomores with hands-on learning and practical skills for engaging with the public.  

Soph-Serve uses the food environment as a springboard to explore links between science and public policy. As part of the program, you will investigate questions such as:  

How does where we live influence what we eat? 

What determines the availability of healthful foods in our communities? 

What options do we have as engaged scholars to facilitate changes in a local community and beyond? 


Soph-Serve Requirements 

In your first semester, you will take the Soph-Serve General Education course as well as participate in community service. In your second semester, you will take the Soph-Serve seminar. 


Community Service 

You will complete 30 hours of community service in the fall semester of your sophomore year. 

You will work individually or in small groups to explore connections between service, research, and public policy. The service sites and service projects provide experiences that have a connection to the food environment, such as housing, transportation, food marketing or farming practices. Current service sites include Amherst Survival Center, Amherst Senior Center, and Not Bread Alone. 


Courses Component 

Soph-Serve courses are led by Lisa M. Troy, assistant professor in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences and Commonwealth Honors College professor in nutrition, who draws upon her experience in the U.S. Senate and with public health programs. You will enroll in the following course sequence: 

Learning Through Community Engagement: A Focus on the Food Environment (4 credits) * 

This is the first of two courses in the Sophomores-Serve program. It prepares and places students with a community partner. Each student participates in a weekly service placement with a community-based organization that works to improve the quality of life for its constituents. Preparing for and learning from these experiences are a major component of the course. Student experience in service placements are brought into conversation with readings and other course materials as a source of their learning. Students apply observations from their service-learning to discuss the process of public policy, and why research findings often don’t translate to policy decisions. 

* This Honors General Education course fulfills the Social and Behavioral World and U.S. Diversity General Education requirements. 

Honors 391AHH Sophomores-Serve Seminar (2 credits) 

This course is the second of two courses in the Sophomores-Serve program and investigates the larger contexts and interconnectedness of individual service placements. A major component of this course is learning to present service-learning experiences and research findings to multiple audiences such as peers, community organizations, and policy-makers to effect change. Written and oral communication is strengthened through development of infographics, policy briefs, or white papers. Students reflect upon the service-learning experience, summarize lessons learned to share with the incoming group of Sophomores-Serve students, and consider building upon the service placement to become an Honors Thesis. 



Soph-Serve is offered to current first-year Honors College students of any major and is a great match for students interested in public policy, science, and issues related to the food environment. 



Complete the Soph-Serve application online. The deadline for applying is Tuesday, March 26, 2019.