Rise Up for Honor has become one of the most essential parts of new student orientation, a testimony to Southern Virginia’s focus on a positive learning environment and personal development. No one can deny that the Code of Honor and the university’s core values are an enormous part of what makes Southern Virginia the sort of place where good people can come to be better, and where they’ll find others who are striving to do the same.
This year’s Rise Up for Honor included speeches by current student Laine Thompson (‘16), alumna Allison Walker (‘13) and Dr. Jan-Erik Jones.
Thompson compared Southern Virginia Knights to the Marines, referencing standards of chivalry and service. Walker, who recently received a master’s degree in theology, imagination and the arts at the divinity school of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, drew connections between modern and classical theology, stressing the importance of religion to a fulfilling life.
“Religion provides the living force by which morality is livable and enjoyable,” she said.
Dr. Jones was the concluding speaker and incorporated the orientation’s theme, “All In,” into his message, arguing that a person cannot be honorable without being “all in.”
“Men and women of honor keep their commitments,” he said. “Men and women of honor finish what they start. … You right now have started. … The kind of person you are if you keep your commitments, if you are a finisher, will honor you for the rest of your life, and it will honor us. And we will say that he or she is one of us, he or she is a Knight… Welcome.”
Following this introduction to the university and its standards, dozens of Southern Virginia University students performed community service in Buena Vista, Va. The acts of service included painting fences, beautifying city parks and weeding the community garden.
Though service has long been a part of Southern Virginia’s new student orientation, this was one of the most far-reaching and extensive projects. Brian Brown, Buena Vista’s director of economic development said that this was the “highest attended event [he has] had” and that the 32 gallons of paint “doubled” the amount of painting usually done in this project.
“It’s a great group of kids,” Brown said. “I look forward to doing multiple projects in the future.”
Joseph Bouchelle, dean of students at Southern Virginia, explained that service has been incorporated into new student orientation to stress that it is an essential part of the university’s “mission to prepare leader-servants.”
“This is often one of the most memorable aspects of orientation, and one where some great new friends are made,” he said.
(Post by Madeleine Gail Rex ’16. Photos by Hannah King ’13 and Jordan Wunderlich ’15.)