Saturday, August 11, 2007

Just Playing Nice or Moving Forward?

The fall semester starts with Freshmen Orientation next Wednesday. Classes won't start until a week from then, but at Southwestern, we take seriously that education is more than just what students learn in their classes. I had the pleasure of spending the day today with around 40 students who will serve as Orientation Leaders to the 150 new freshmen that will begin their collegiate career at Southwestern College. These students represent many others on campus, but this sample set proved to be superstars. I was impressed by their encouragement of one another in the 100 degree plus heat as they spent the day becoming a "team" on the ropes course. Why is it important that these leaders be a team? Their unity will be a model for the incoming students, and even the rest of campus as they join us here in a couple of days. We're a school full of people from various backgrounds--rural, suburban, urban--with different experiences, but somehow we get along. No, it's more than just getting along...even 2nd graders know how to "get along." We've learned, and continue to learn, that in order to truly make a difference, we must learn to truly care about one another, look out for one another, trust one another. Whether we're doing that while being suspended 20 feet above the ground at a ropes course, or in the cafeteria while speaking of our concerns for the upcoming year, true community requires it of us. Are we willing?

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