In selecting senior honors student Preston Swincher to be the featured speaker at Thursday’s Honors Convocation, university officials wisely shifted the focus of the event toward that which is most important – the students.
Similar events often feature speakers who are outsiders or who have some loose connection to the institution they are speaking for. Usually these guests are gifted speakers with a message designed to inspire students and give them a bright outlook on their futures. Their words can be valuable, but it can be difficult to connect with someone you know little to nothing about.
But who better to inspire hope and recall memories of semesters gone by and semesters yet to come than someone who has experienced the same hardships, sleepless nights and the glorious triumphs as the students in attendance? Listening to the words of a peer as opposed to the words of an authority figure or a stranger can have a much greater effect on an audience of students in a university setting.
One of the goals of the university that has come under recent scrutiny is its push to promote and maintain a community of Horned Frogs while embracing individual diversity. Increasing the involvement and decision-making ability of students, the school’s most important resource, goes hand in hand with the renewed focus on community and togetherness. While allowing a student to speak at the Honors Convocation for the first time in the history of the university might not sound like a ground-breaking development, it shows that our campus and those who run it are willing to make changes that are beneficial to student involvement.
It’s good to see that in the face of recent controversy surrounding themed housing, the university hasn’t forgotten about what makes a university in the first place – its students.
Sports editor Michael Carroll for the editorial board.