New students sign the Honor Code, an annual tradition at Fall Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)
New students sign the Honor Code, an annual tradition at Fall Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

‘Precious and Valuable:’ Students Sign Honor Code at Fall Convocation

Sep. 1, 2017
Kristen Bowman

Brenau University students, faculty and administrators braved intermittent afternoon downpours Thursday, Aug. 31, to gather in Pearce Auditorium for Fall Formal Convocation, where Provost Jim Eck challenged the students to live up to the university’s honor code.

“My expectation of Brenau faculty and students is that our university will adhere to principles of academic integrity,” Eck said. “A sense of personal responsibility and integrity is something you develop over a long period of time. It is something that is precious and valuable to you. But it is also something you can quickly squander.”

The honor code challenges students to “refrain from every form of dishonesty and cheating in university life” and to “strive to create a spirit of honesty and honor.” New students – incoming freshmen and transfer students – filed through the auditorium to sign the honor code individually.

Brenau President Ed Schrader holds the door for students as they make their way out of the rain and into Pearce Auditorium for Brenau's Fall Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau President Ed Schrader holds the door for students as they make their way out of the rain and into Pearce Auditorium for Brenau’s Fall Convocation. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Eck, who began at the university as provost and chief academic officer in July, compared himself to the freshmen students who now call Brenau home.

“Our first-year students and I left the place where we had things figured out, that place of comfort, of predictability, and we began anew,” he said. “Your Brenau education will safeguard you during periods of transition. Those times you will realize are a vulnerable, new beginning and result in your exponential new growth as an individual.”

He referenced Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” a work which reflects on the effect of education, or the lack of it, upon human nature. Eck said students are too often willing to be entertained by movies, television, Netflix, and other diversions, eschewing “life outside the theater.”

“Instead of becoming too consumed with the popular miniseries ‘13 Reasons Why,’ let’s go outside the theater and collaborate to develop a hundred, a thousand, reasons why not,” he said. “Each one of us has caves where we dwell, but our education provides a pathway for escape.”

As provost, Eck said he hopes the students would make academic life their top priority and view Brenau as an opportunity to begin lifelong learning.

“My freshman year, we focused on a call to action,” said Simone Lewis, president of Student Government Association at Brenau and senior mass communication major. “I thought, ‘What does that mean?’

“I didn’t really know what that meant until now,” she continued. “I now have student government … and within it I’ve found that I have a voice and it means something. Every one of you has a voice too, because we are all part of Student Government Association as the student body. I encourage you guys to use your voice, make a call to action and find your purpose. Above all, keep getting involved and do the things you love to do.”

Brenau President Ed Schrader echoed the message Eck and Lewis shared, telling students to get involved in every way they can, including in charitable opportunities following Hurricane Harvey and its devastation of coastal Texas.

“I encourage you to be involved in those opportunities,” he said. “Your heart becomes bigger and your spirit becomes stronger as you help others.”

 

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