The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
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Letter from the President

To the student body,

A great number of you will cast your very first vote in what is arguably among the most important and contentious elections in American history. The first time I voted for the President of the United States I was a college freshman (interestingly, there was a Clinton in that race as well). I was away from home for the first time, meeting new people, encountering new ideas and coming to understand what it means to be an adult. For me, voting was a part of that process, an essential rite of passage.

While Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers (as well as my fellow Generation Xers), sadly only about 50 percent of them have made it to the polls in recent elections. I’m sure there are a variety of reasons, but I ask any of you who are thinking of sitting this one out because you can’t decide, to reconsider.

We live in a complicated nation situated in a complicated world. For many voters, young and old, the choice is difficult, the options are not satisfactory, the issues are too plentiful and too great, the campaign rhetoric is too polarizing.

As students at a Jesuit institution, I suggest that you look to our patron St. Ignatius for some guidance on making important or difficult decisions.

Ignatius begins by suggesting that we free ourselves from the notion that any choice will be perfect. With this weight removed, we can instead choose what is better or best for us, given our current circumstances.

To drill down, he offers another practical and oft-used strategy – weigh the pros and cons of each option by writing them all down on paper. When we are forced to fully examine our choices, clarity can emerge.

Ignatius posits that as we engage in this exercise, we can often feel ourselves being pulled in one direction or another. Ignatius also recommends that we imagine “living with” one choice or another. Easier said than done for some, but a worthy strategy. It allows us to move beyond the act of deciding, which can often paralyze us.

And, once we’ve decided, Ignatius cautions against leaving the decision behind. Instead, we should continually reflect on it. In this way, all decisions, good or bad, wrong or right have a purpose and influence our future discernments.

Each of you will vote in ensuing elections during the course of your lifetime. Your Jesuit education sharpens your intellect, tunes your moral compass and calls you to be active and engaged citizens and forces for good in the world. Casting informed ballots is just one of the many ways you can fulfill this obligation. Another is to work toward healing divides and promoting civility.

So, I urge you to head to the polls on November 8 having made your best decision, and then, whatever the outcome, commit yourself to seeking common ground with your classmates, in your communities and across the globe.

University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.

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