Fri, 09/14/2012

"As a member of the Commonwealth Honors College community of scholars, I pledge to be respectful toward all members of the university community and to challenge myself and others to pursue a fulfilling education."


This Commonwealth Honors College student pledge was recited for the first time en masse during the induction of the Class of 2016. The pledge was composed by the Commonwealth Honors College Student Advisory Board.


At the induction ceremony Kurt Schultz, chair of the student advisory board, introduced the pledge:


On behalf of the members of the honors college student advisory board, I welcome you to UMass Amherst and the Commonwealth Honors College. Soon, you will all be invited to stand and take a pledge. By reciting this pledge, you will be choosing to commit yourself to fulfilling your potential here at UMass.


This pledge was composed by the Commonwealth Honors College Student Advisory Board, which is open to honors college students from all four years. As the chair of this board, I would like to take a moment to talk to you about the deeper meaning behind the words in this pledge.


The first part of this pledge mentions the word “respect”. The use of this word is intended to take on more than just one meaning. It depends on how you choose to define it. I believe that one should choose to respect their fellow students, their professors, their faculty and staff, even this campus itself.


The relationship I have with my friends is built upon the idea of mutual growth. I push them to go outside their comfort zone, and they do the same to me. That’s just one way to define “respect”.  I implore you to look inwards and determine how you will choose to define the word “respect” during your time at this university.


The pledge also refers to a fulfilling education.FF Fulfillment is not a fleeting moment. That Halloween party might have been really fun, but, by the next day, the party’s over. Fulfillment is different. Doing things that you are passionate about will add meaning to your life. Fulfillment is permanent. It stays with you. 


Take a moment to picture yourself relaxing on a river bank watching the current. You might notice some tree branches that float on by. These objects are like your passing emotions. Think of times when you were really happy and times when you were really sad. Just like those objects in the river, those feelings have now passed. They were only temporary. The water that these objects float across, on the other hand, is always present. The same holds true for fulfillment. When you put effort into something that you are passionate about, the result is permanent. It even tends to build upon itself.


As high school students, you challenged yourself and succeeded. Now, as the newest members of the honors college, you have been given the platform for even greater success. This college invested in you. Now it is your turn to invest in yourself.


With these ideals in mind, I now invite all members of the newly inducted honors freshman class to rise and join me in reciting the pledge.