“Let each person do his or her part. If one citizen is unwilling to participate, all of us are going to suffer. For the American idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.”
Show Up, Go for It and Make It Your Own. Those are the three tips for success I share with incoming students each year. It’s my attempt to take all of the advice we want to give students and distill it into a six-minute (or less) speech. But there’s a way to make it even shorter – participate! Participate in your classes, participate in student organizations, participate in events and programs – throw yourself into this experience we call college. That’s the way to truly benefit from these opportunities. Participate and participate fully. These same ideas apply to us as staff, too.
As we worked on a reference tool (coming soon) to help us understand and begin to integrate the idea of a “culture of excellence” in all that we do, we put the words in alphabetical order. It was a fortuitous decision because it seems to me that Participate is a great beginning idea. For us to become and continue to be the best Division of Student Affairs, we all need to participate. That means living our mission of providing the best and most innovative programs, facilities and services. It also means working toward our vision of being a leader in creating a campus culture that engages all students and inspires them to change the world.
We each need to Show Up every day ready to do our best for each other and our students – to “Extend Support” and “Share Expertise.” We need to truly Go For It in our efforts to “Increase Involvement,” “Promote Inclusion” and “Expand Visibility.” And each of us needs to make this effort our own, to bring our best to everything we do.
To be more than a bit presumptuous and rewrite Barbara Jordan’s quote, “Let each member of the Division of Student Affairs do his or her part. If one staff member is unwilling to PARTICIPATE, all of us are going to suffer. For the culture of excellence idea, though it is shared by all of us, is realized by each one of us” – each and every action, each and every day.
I have no doubt we can do it. I have no doubt we will do it. I look forward to participating with you in all of the great work you do as we work together to be a truly excellent part of the work of this amazing university.