Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the campus of the College of William and Mary. NAC Chair, Dr. Chon Glover, was my gracious host for the day. I had a great visit with Chon and several of her colleagues including my friend, Karlene Jennings, who turns out to be an initiate of the Alpha Circle at Washington and Lee. It was probably the first time that I had visited with Karlene in about six years. Needless to say, Karlene has now been recruited to be an active advisor with the William and Mary Circle.
The campus in Williamsburg was alive with the energy that is wonderfully typical at colleges and universities this time of year. It was the day before move-in and the nervous energy of the students, faculty, and staff was evident. It reminded me of why I so love late summer and fall – it is the hopefulness that comes with the start of school.
My drive back from Williamsburg gave me time to consider the metaphor of “moving” in our lives. Words, people, and equipment move us in different ways.
In the last week, I have been terribly struck by the impact of words and how they move people. They can inspire and transform lives. This month marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
As many have noted, the speech was a defining moment in the civil rights movement, and it is now regarded by many as the top speech of the 20th century. King’s words moved the hearts of people, but more importantly, his words moved individuals to action.
President Kennedy invited leaders from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to the White House after watching King’s speech on television. And while Kennedy initially proposed the civil rights bill in June 1963, and the bill gained noticeable support following King’s speech in August 1963. The bill was enacted on July 2, 1964, and King’s words continue to move many to this day.
When I moved into my first dorm room at Louisville (yes, I went to college before these buildings were religiously referred to as “residence halls”), I carried my clothes, boxes, and books up to the room by myself. The well-choreographed dance of energetic students, traffic guides, and faculty/staff volunteers greeting new students and their families and quickly unloading the car and whisking belongings into a room did not exist. If you want to see an interesting take on this dance, check out the “glassumentary” of move-in at Lehigh that was featured in The Chronicle. As a father notes, things certainly have changed.
I’ve worked a lot of move-in weekends since my undergraduate years and have learned to appreciate the careful planning that goes into this fall semester ritual. To all of our members of O∆K who helped welcome the Class of 2017 to your respective campuses, thank you for embodying the best of leadership and fellowship in collegiate and community life.
Lastly, if your campus was lucky during move-in, all of the elevators on campus worked properly. Those pieces of vertical transportation are critical, especially if one is trying to get a computer, summer/fall/winter clothes, television, books, and 18 pairs of shoes up to the 22nd story of one of those four towers at the University of Albany where our national president, Dr. Mike Christakis works, and where our national treasurer, Darwin Jones, lived.
Work is continuing on O∆K’s “Elevator Speech” project. We are still looking for input from members about what they might say in a quick conversation with another in an elevator going from the lobby to the 22nd floor of a residence hall building if they saw O∆K on t-shirt.
Dr. Andrew Chung, an initiate of the Georgia Tech Circle, has submitted this playful and thoughtful take on the elevator speech. I encourage you to read it as well as to join in our conversation. Feel free to share here your ideas at the blog site or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to contribute your thoughts.
Have a wonderful, safe, and moving Labor Day weekend!