Class of 2017 pledges to uphold Elon values
New students affirmed their commitment on Thursday morning to the virtues of honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect in the university’s eighth annual Call to Honor program.
First-year students gathered in the Academic Village on Thursday morning for the eighth annual Call to Honor program, a fall tradition that allows campus leaders to share with new students how the university community expects its members to live by the core principles of the Elon Honor Code.
A special component of the program was added this fall as university student and administrative leaders came together afterward to plant an oak tree in the Academic Village as part of the university’s 125th anniversary year. Elected presidents of each currently enrolled class addressed the four pillars of the university’s Honor Code—integrity, responsibility, respect and honesty. Prior to the ceremony, they had signed their names in the Call to Honor Book, which includes signatures from alumni dating to 1936.
“Today we celebrate our commitment to academic citizenship and to the values that bind us together as members of the Elon University community,” said Elon senior Welsford Bishopric, executive president of the Student Government Association. “Elon’s academic and social honor codes have been joined into a unified code to remind us that Elon’s principles of honor apply to us both on an off the campus. Whether we are in classrooms or residence halls, on a playing field or in the library, at an internship or at a party, studying abroad or using the Internet, we are honor bound by the values of honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect.
“These are the hallmark values of an Elon education and of ourselves as students. More than simple words, they should guide every decision we make throughout life, no matter how large or small.”
Responsibility: “In broad terms, it is the concept of being accountable for your actions and learning,” said Connor O’Donnell, president of the Class of 2014. “Responsibility can be one of the hardest virtues to maintain in any college setting. Being responsible during the transition from home to college is difficult. … My best advice is this: Overindulge in moderation. There will be many temptations that arise within your college career. Remember that your actions not only reflect on yourself but also on this prestigious university. The only person responsible for you is you.”
Respect: “You have to know, respect and value yourself before you an fully be respected by others. Your relationship with yourself is the longest one you’ll ever have,” said Sarah Paille-Jansa, president of the Class of 2015. “Respect for others is best and most simply stated by the Golden Rule, ‘Treat others the way that you want to be treated.’ … And respect for the greater community. For the next four years Elon will be home. When I arrived here two years ago, I was told just that, but I couldn’t have imagined what Elon would grow to mean to me. We have to respect our home and give back to Elon as much as we receive.”
Honesty: “Honesty means being truthful in our academic work and in all of our relationships—with our friends, with our professors, with our community and romantically,” said Alex Bohannon, president of the Class of 2016. “Being honest in our academic work means developing and using our own thoughts rather than presenting the ideas of others without giving them credit. It includes working independently when the assignment calls for it as well as saying ‘no’ to anyone who invites you to engage in academic behavior that you know is wrong. Being honest in relationships means keeping your word to others and meeting your obligations. When you make commitments, stick to them. When you practice honesty, others will come to see you as a person who can be trusted and relied upon.”
Integrity: “Throughout our time at Elon and beyond, integrity is one of our fundamental values, being trustworthy, fair and ethical,” said Fred Suppes, president of the Class of 2017. “Nothing is more valuable to our sense of who we are than our integrity. With this word we speak of what it means to be a whole person, complete and undivided. Integrity means being guided by our internal core commitments and behaving toward others in ways that are consistent with them. Our integrity means that we are true to our word and can be trusted to carry out our responsibilities and live up to our pledges. Because we have a strong personal commitment to high moral and ethical standards, we bring strength to our university community.”
The ceremony also featured remarks by Elon President Leo M. Lambert and Grant De Roo '12, assistant director of admissions at the university, who represented alumni who have pledged to uphold the Honor Code. De Roo encouraged students to sign the honor pledge following the program at tables surrounding the commons.
“Never forget the power of your ability to choose—you are more capable and more in control than you even realize simply because of your gift of choice,” De Roo said. “No matter the situation, no matter who else is around, no matter how daunting it may seem, you always have the option to choose the right path. In the next four years at Elon, please don’t forget your ability to choose, to make the right decision, to play an active role in creating your own desired outcome.”
De Roo also shared the symbolism of a white oak tree to be planted in the Academic Village following the ceremony. The leaf of the white oak serve as the university logo, and he noted how two of the trees surrounding the class predate Elon’s founding in 1889.
It was also the first of 125 trees to be planted on campus this year in honor of Elon University’s quasquicentennial celebration.
“Each time you pass by this new tree during the next four years, you should remember this day and the commitment you are making to intellectual, interpersonal and civic growth,” he said. “The core of the tree will grow stronger, adding a ring with each year, just as you will become more complex with the knowledge you gain and the experience you choose.”
Lambert concluded the ceremony by leading the Class of 2017 in reciting the Honor Code:
“Today we are entrusted with the honorable legacy of Elon University, dedicated to the intellectual, personal and spiritual growth of all its members, to the advancement of knowledge for the good of all, and to the service of local, national and global communities. To that end, we affirm our commitment to the core values of our university:
· We commit ourselves to honesty, being truthful in our academic work and in our relationships with others.
· We commit ourselves to show integrity, being trustworthy, fair and ethical.
· We commit ourselves to responsibility, being accountable for our actions and for our learning.
· We commit ourselves to respect, being civil, valuing the dignity of each person, and respecting the physical and intellectual property of others.
"With these commitments we join generations of Elon students as bearers of its honor."