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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Splash! turns college students into teachers

Published: November 22, 2013
Section: News

On Saturday, Nov. 16, Brandeis welcomed a host of local students, including those from Waltham, Newton, Allston, Watertown and other towns, for the second annual Splash! program. The program, in which college students teach specialized classes to high school students, originated at MIT over twenty-five years ago, and was brought to Brandeis last year by Brandeis’ Education for Students by Students (ESS) club.

“I came up with the idea with my friend Brendan while working at the Technology Help Desk,” said ESS founder Ben Wang ’15 in an interview with The Hoot. “I knew [Brendan] had taught some at MIT, and me being from the area I had taken a few in high school, and we both decided it would be a great idea to bring it to Brandeis.”

According to Wang, ESS was formed as the first step to bringing Splash! to campus. The founders hoped to find students passionate about subjects that would be willing to volunteer and teach a class for 30 to 90 minutes about that passion for a weekend. Splash! is also notable for providing classes to students who otherwise would not have access to them. After ESS was chartered by Brandeis in January 2012, the club set out on bringing Splash! to campus for fall semesters. In the spring, ESS organizes and puts on Deis Talks. “MIT was really helpful in setting us up,” said Wang, “They helped advertise and get the word out a lot.”

The Splash! at Brandeis program has been an overall success for ESS. “Our first time, we had about 14 classes and 30 students. This year, we had 30 teachers and 60 students, so we basically doubled our number,” said Wang, who hopes that those numbers will keep increasing. This is likely, as anyone can sign up to take a Splash! class and any Brandeis student can sign up through ESS to teach one. “You just need to have a subject/topic that you really like and that you’re passionate about, and then you just need to sign up,” said Wang, “the students are basically going to school on the weekends for fun, so the least we can do is have fun with them.” ESS is always open to more volunteers, and Splash! at Brandeis is expected to continue for many years to come.