Each year, Elon University President Leo Lambert highlights three students in his convocation speech. These three students represent a fraction of those that have done extracurricular activities and are described to their peers, in front of parents and faculty.
For the class of 2020, these students were freshmen Sarah Dolce, Molly Offstein and Harish Prasad.
Having a green thumb
Dolce is a Honors Fellow from Wellington, Fla. and was awarded the William R. Kenan Honors Scholarship. She participated in Project Green Challenge, a global call to action for college and high school students to transition from conventional to conscious living.
“[Project Green Challenge's goal is] to increase global awareness in the younger generation about all that we are doing that harms the environment,” Dolce said.
This project had various challenges for participants every day such as figuring out what food is local and how to live with zero waste. Every time that a participant fulfilled one of these challenges he or she gained points.
Dolce came in second, which lead her to go to California to the finals, where she was one of 12 international finalists among college and graduate students.
“The first time I ever pulled four all-nighters within a week and about 12 in a month was for Project Green Challenge," Dolce said. "I dedicated myself for a month to learn as much as I could on sustainability. I didn’t know exactly what composting was, I thought I was environmentally conscious, to say the least, but I didn’t know there were things in my shampoo or in my soaps.”
Dolce was also head of the environmental science club where she set off volunteer activities such as working in community gardens, having cookie sales and cleaning up beaches.
Dolce was a camp counselor at a sleep-away camp where she taught riflery. Through teaching riflery, she felt she could help girls have courage, overcome obstacles and learn that not only boys shoot guns while still showing them safety.
Since arriving on campus, she finds she appreciates the sense of community and the people that form that community.
“I met so many wonderful people that had done so many wonderful things and I wanted to do that as well," Dolce said. "It wasn’t just that, it was also the sense of community that I could feel and everyone was extremely nice."
Running to the finish
Offstein from Frostburg, Maryland, was moved and surprised when Lambert called her name during convocation.
“I had no idea President Lambert was going to mention me in his speech,” Offstein said. “I think that one of the reasons why I was chosen was because I was a student-athlete so they wanted a diverse choice of students."
Offstein is an Honors Fellow and a member of Elon’s cross-country team. She did community service with Camp Hope and she took as many AP classes as she could. If she wanted to, she could graduate in three years.
“I was an AP distinguished scholar every year so I have a bunch of credits, I’m not sure about how many I took but I took more than 10, so it was a lot,” Offstein said.
Additionally, she was involved in cross-country and track. Her sophomore year, she won the 3200 meters for the state in indoor track and her senior year she won the 800 meters in indoor track and the 1600 meters in outdoor track.
“On the athletic side, I have all the records from my high school from the 800 meters to the 5k, plus the 4 by 4 and 4 by 800,' Offstein said.
Offstein participated in a pre-fracking baseline study in her community, which was held by her environmental science class.
Despite her achievements, she believes she wouldn’t be the same person she is today if she did not come from Western Maryland or if she did not have a supportive family.
“The small town helped me stand out and I felt like I needed to take advantage of the opportunities offered at my school and the track program," Offstein said. "I owe my success in running to my sister because she’s the one that got me into it and to my family who helped me and pushed me."