The paths one can forge as a Pilot invite service

By The Beacon | February 2, 2011 9:00pm


(The Beacon)

By John McCarty, Staff Commentary -- The Beacon

Why did you come to UP?

Maybe you're a student athlete and you simply couldn't pass up the generous scholarship and the opportunity to be a part of a nationally renowned athletic program. Maybe you really like purple. Or maybe you're just another student who got sucked in by the deceptively nice weather during Weekend on The Bluff.

More likely than not, the real answer is none of the above. Let's face it, all scholarships, majors and sub-par workout facilities aside, the real reason you're here today is the community.

The first time I visited campus I wasn't drawn in by the stunning architecture at Buckley Center or the delicious scents emanating from The Commons, rather, it was the fact that my tour guide seemed to know everyone we passed on a first-name basis.

As a smaller private school, UP is inherently more community oriented in its mission and the implementation thereof, a luxury you and I pay for and benefit from on a daily basis. Ask any athlete about his (or her) relationship with his teammates and he'll tell you the team is more of a family than anything. Fortunately for us muggles, there are clubs, dorms, intramurals and a host of other roads into the UP community. The moral of the story is this: No matter who you are or what you're into there is a place in the community for you. If these four-plus years are supposed to be the best of your life, while you expand your knowledge and truly come into your own as an independent person why not get involved with other like-minded individuals?

Assuming you haven't lost interest and/or discredited everything I've said up until now, you might be wondering what in the name of Wally Pilot this commentary is doing in the sports section. I suggest you prepare yourself for a nice juicy sports pun.

You don't need to be a member of the tennis team to truly appreciate the value of service.

It's like this: a community is best judged by the way in which its members interact and support each other, so when the student section is packed with roaring fans it's not just a show of force, but also a testament to the solidarity of our community. Support isn't just showing up and being loud, and the microcosm of UP isn't the only community in need of our support, not by a long shot.

Shockingly enough, as a Holy Cross school, UP is all about that community service. This commitment to service is precisely what makes UP stand out from other colleges, and it extends well beyond the four years the average student spends here.

I'm talking about UP soccer standouts Cori Alexander and Rachael Rapinoe taking a break from global football domination to teach Indonesian youths about the game. I'm talking about the men's basketball team volunteering at the Special Olympics, or the men's soccer team shaving their beautiful locks for cancer research. I'm talking about service plunges too numerous to keep track of, and more fundraisers than Jared Stohl three-pointers.

If even the athletes are getting in on the whole service thing in spite of their highly regimented schedules, what exactly is holding you back? The countless hours of service logged by UP students is a testament to the value of an education that works both the mind and body. The unparalleled prosperity of the University, especially in regard to increased enrollment and development plans, simply goes to show that you benefit based upon the effort you put into the community.

Support your fellow students, foster your own education and get involved because you've got nothing to lose.

(Samantha Heathcote -- The Beacon)