Welcome back! I am eager to join you this fall as we all work together to create the unique learning experience we expect in the Honors Program. The virus restrictions pose a few challenges to building the kind of community that opens our minds to the thinking of others and reflecting on their intellectual journey. At the same time, we are in the midst of a season of national and personal reflection that can be a catalyst for learning. The entire Honors team -- our staff, faculty, and I are dedicated to not letting a virus rob you of the Honors experience!
To help guide our efforts and to promote unity, we have adopted a theme for the 2020-2021 year: We will ACT! That is, we will Adapt, Connect and Transcend. The theme is drawn from the teachings of Lehi to his son Jacob in the Book of Mormon as he expounds on the concepts of agency and choice in this life. In two places he emphasizes the distinction of acting versus being acted upon.
2 Nephi 2:13 …And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon;
2 Nephi 2:26 …And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon.
As we choose to ACT, rather than be acted upon, our efforts will focus on Adapting, Connecting and Transcending:
Adapt – Change and modify your viewpoints, attitudes and behaviors. Find opportunities, rather than roadblocks. This should include opportunities for service, growth and learning in a new environment.
Connect – Be a part of building our Honors Community in a time of isolation by making an extra effort to connect with individual fellow students.
Transcend – Rise above challenging times and prepare to make a long-term impact for good in a world that needs you.
I challenge everyone associated with the Honors Program to choose some specific ways you can individually ACT. To get us started, I have made a few of my own ACT commitments:
- Read the Honors Book of the Year on racism and participate in the discussions with groups and with individuals.
- Host a weekly socially-distanced lunch with a few students to discuss their dreams and concerns.
- Ask students I see in the MSRB how they are feeling about the semester.
Please think about what you can do to ACT. When you see me, please stop and share your own experiences with adapting, connecting and transcending. Watch for highlights and stories here on our website as we feature the ways you are ACTing this year. Honors students are awesome. I am confident we will all rise to this challenge together!
Spencer Magleby, Director