Welcome Back to a Change!
By Auburn Mann
It’s the opening of a new academic year here at Bowie State. With convocation occurring this week, and with an early homecoming in our rearview, we are already off to a flying start. Congratulations to the Bulldogs football athletes for their victory against Livingstone, during homecoming this past weekend, maintaining an undefeated record so far. Bowie State University has also found itself in the Forbes magazine top college list, ranking our undergraduate program within the top 20 percent of institutions of higher education.
Also, this fall, many things have bent toward change on various levels. We have fresh faces in student leadership with Student Government Association President Jamin Gallman and Vice President Rhonetta Brooks, respectively. We also have the pleasure of ushering in a new Mr. and Miss Bowie State University Michelle McCleary and Mr. Bowie State University Matthew Riley III. These agents of change, as well as the host of others who are making great strides toward the betterment of this university, should function as a positive example for everyone within the student body at Bowie. Students should pursue excellence whether it’s academically, socially, professionally or even spiritually.
In the keynote address at the Fall 2011 Convocation, Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim said students have two alternatives: change or die. At first, this title sounded harsh. However, President Burnim cleverly adapted British biologist Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection to our role as BSU students, faculty, staff and administrators. We must be able to adapt and to change in accord with our academic environment if we are to “survive.” This change could also start by recommitting ourselves to the moral foundations that this school was built upon.
The core values of the school --- accountability, diversity, integrity, civility and excellence ---are perfect foundations on which to build our growth. These ideals are what can aid us from the minutest moments to the pivotal life-changing situations. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish one of these moments from the other.
This past week, during a time that was supposed to be full of fun, enjoyment, school spirit and fellowship among old and new Bulldogs alike, we were suddenly were propelled into mourning the loss of two of our school mates. Dominique T. Frazier passed away last Thursday evening following an altercation with her roommate in her CMRC apartment. All classes were canceled that Friday, as Bowie tried to communally swallow what had just transpired the night before. We came together at 12 noon consolation ceremony in the Leonidas S. James Physical Education Complex to try to comprehend the incomprehensible. In the midst of all this ubiquitous grief and pain, there was a stronger sense of community and cohesiveness, which seemed to be contagious, that was on continuous display.
It is ironic how oftentimes the most tragic events can bring about the finest hours of love and kindness in people. It’s similar to those situations when people, who would otherwise be too busy, are forced into a degree of intimacy with those around them when lights and power are suspended by a storm, accident, etc. We all have nothing then but the companionship of each other.
As President Burnim stated at convocation, it’s time we make a change, a change in our daily standards of interaction with each other. Civility is one of our school’s core values. Civility is defined as “polite or considerate and respectful conduct.” We should all take the time to think about how measure up to this value. Are we polite toward one another? Do we consider others feelings and well being before we speak and act? Do we respect the differences in opinions and customs of others enough to listen and genuinely attempt to understand? Are we civil? How we perceive each other determines how we behave toward one another. Maybe, this unfortunate incident can be pillar of civility in a house built on a foundation of our university’s values so that as a family we can survive.