“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” — Woodrow T. Wilson
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Spring Break is almost upon us. Over the next two weeks, there will be no lectures, no presentations, no papers, and no exams. (But there will be basketball!) This is a time for students to escape the rigors of academia, to relax and recharge, to reconnect with family and friends, to create lifelong memories, and to get energized for the remainder of the semester. Meanwhile, many of our dedicated faculty and staff will remain busy preparing for the coming weeks as May Commencement quickly approaches.
At Valpo, we seek to develop men and women of great knowledge and character who commit themselves to the pursuit of truth and the creation of enduring change. We place great importance on connecting academic study, service experience, and future aspirations to prepare students to lead and serve where needed.
With students dedicating more than 247,000 hours to community outreach and service-learning annually, service is deeply embedded in the Valpo culture — it’s a way of life for us. Our long-established commitment to service continues this Spring Break, as many of you will be volunteering your time to help tackle the many challenges facing our neighbors, impacting their lives and improving our world.
This Spring Break, Valpo students, faculty, and staff will travel across the United States and internationally, encompassing a variety of disciplines and focus areas — from a faith-based trip to Milwaukee to trips dedicated to home construction and repair in Mission, S.D., Mandeville, La., and Pikeville, Ky. Students from the College of Nursing and Health Professions will travel to China, observing different health care facilities and practices, while Christ College students will take a course on Irish literature and history in Ireland. Working Across Vocations Everywhere through Service (WAVES) will return to Nicaragua to continue a water distribution project in a village on Ometepe Island. Sorority and fraternity members will be in Nashville, working in a local food pantry and providing support services to the growing refugee population.
I am truly honored to be part of a community comprised of so many individuals who devote their time, energy, and talents for the sake of the world. This community never ceases to impress and inspire me!
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.
Students, no matter how you choose to spend the next couple weeks — cheering in the stands at the Motor City Madness Horizon League Tournament, at home with family, in a sunny paradise with friends, or in the library studying — I implore you to keep Woodrow Wilson’s words in mind. As a member of the Valparaiso University community, you are called to engage in the larger world, to use your inner light to enrich the world and transform the lives of all those you encounter.
I pray for safe travels for each and every one of you, and that you return to campus healthy, rejuvenated, and eager to continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom throughout the remainder of the semester.
Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D.