I do a lot of stuff. One of my favorite looks in the world is the one from any given mother on a campus tour after I rattle off my list of activities I’m involved in on campus—which even overwhelms me at times. But I’m sure you yourself are perhaps reading this in the occasional free time you have on the way to class, in between club meetings, sports practice, a job shift, or during a study break. The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not a minority as a student involved in multiple organizations on campus.
And that’s one of my favorite qualities of St. Mary’s. We do stuff. We’re not afraid to start new things, change things if we don’t like them, and come up with new and exciting ideas. And all this stuff that we do makes us who we are as individuals, and as a school.
We are classmates, teammates, club members, writers, scientists, activists, future teachers, performers, volunteers, outdoorsmen, and bookworms. We are singers, artists, rock climbers, sailors, thinkers, environmentalists, and just plain ourselves.
I hadn’t fully realized the beauty of the truth to what is written above until I returned to campus for training to be an Orientation Leader a few weeks ago. We were reminded of and stressed the importance of diversity—whether it is race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, religion, or socio-economic class. I learned to appreciate each person, not only in the OL group but also on campus, because everyone contributes their talents, passions, time, and effort to make St. Mary’s a better place. And we all may be different in skin color, class status, abilities, age, and sexual orientation, but everyone is the same in that we have some sort of stuff to contribute.
And I’m so excited to see what kind of stuff the new students can bring to campus.
So welcome to the St. Mary’s community, class of 2016. I feel beyond honored to be able to welcome you as a student leader to a campus that takes itself seriously as just that—a community. A community that will truly accept you for who you are, what you want to do, where you want to go, and will help you get there. A community where embracing the weird is not only recognized, but also encouraged. A community that has been tested by just about every natural disaster there is out there, and lived to tell the tale. And finally, a community that does a lot of stuff.