“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” — John F. Kennedy
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Spring Break is hours away! This mid-semester break gives us all a chance to reflect on our early semester accomplishments and prepare for the weeks to come. No exams, no presentations, no classes, and no lectures — this is a welcome change in our routines. And for some, it provides an escape from the snow!
The next two weeks will allow students the opportunity to set aside the demands of the semester in order to reflect, relax, and reconnect. Valpo students choose to spend this interval in a myriad of places, but each will be positioned to create lasting memories and embody and carry the Valpo spirit wherever they go. Meanwhile, many of our faculty and staff will remain, busily preparing for the coming weeks and the approaching May Commencement.
At Valpo, we seek to nurture women and men of impeccable character who are good people doing great things in a world that needs them. Valpo students are active participants in the world, and I have witnessed them make a difference on campus and beyond through their dedication to scholarly pursuits, aspirations to create lasting change, and willingness to serve communities around the world.
This spring, Valpo students, faculty, and staff will seek to do just that as they embark on trips that cultivate calling and purpose, provide opportunities for truth-seeking and self-reflection, and prepare students for life beyond graduation. These outstanding student experiences include:
- The Harre Union, Chapel, Social Action Leadership Team (SALT), Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Volunteer Programs are collaborating to offer six service trips. Trips include home repair in Central Appalachia; working with Habitat for Humanity in Biloxi, Mississippi, to replace homes lost due to hurricanes; two disaster recovery trips, including one for first-year students, to New Bern, North Carolina; a fraternity and sorority life disaster recovery trip to the Florida panhandle; and a Cherokee culture immersion trip to Northeast Oklahoma.
- The Chorale will be traveling as part of its spring 2020 season. It will perform in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, St. Louis, Missouri, Oklahoma City, Plano, Texas, and Longview, Texas.
- The men’s and women’s basketball teams will compete in their Missouri Valley Conference Tournaments, and competition continues for spring sports, including women’s bowling, softball, baseball, women’s and men’s golf, women’s and men’s track and field, and women’s and men’s tennis.
- Professor Lee Orchard and a group of students will travel to London to experience theatre productions in historic venues and explore contemporary British drama.
- The College of Nursing and Health Professions is leading four experiential learning trips abroad. Students, faculty, and staff will travel to Central America, Germany, and Ireland.
- Global MBA students will travel to Costa Rica to hone their knowledge and skills in international business settings.
- WAVES students will travel to Guatemala to design and implement sustainable projects in underdeveloped communities to improve their quality of life.
- The Institute for Leadership and Service is leading an immersion trip to Detroit and Flint, Michigan, that will focus on environmental sustainability and social justice.
Each year, we gather together as a community for a special blessing for all those traveling on a service trip. I encourage you to attend this send-off service, which will take place at Friday’s Morning Prayer Service at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of the Resurrection.
No matter how you choose to spend the next few weeks, I urge you to keep President Kennedy’s words in mind. As members of the Valparaiso University community, each of our actions can make a difference here on campus, in our hometowns, and around the world. You are called to engage in the larger world, to seek truth, to serve generously, and to cultivate hope.
I pray for safe travels for each of you and that you return refreshed and eager to engage in respectful dialogue and continue your pursuit of advanced knowledge through the remainder of the semester.
Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.