Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Lingo, Language, and Traditions

Every area definitely has its own rhythm, a unique feel identifying it as an individual area. These differences spice up the environment, adding to the student culture.

Thomas Jefferson thought that the word "campus" had far too stifling a feel and that it conveyed the idea of a community surrounded by ten foot high walls and separate from the rest of the world. Wanting to limit the restrictive feel, Jefferson opted for the word "Grounds" to describe his university.

First Year, Second Year,....
Again, Thomas Jefferson played a role in this tradition. He thought that no one could ever truly be a senior in learning, and so to label a person as such after only four years of school was ridiculous. This tradition is one of my favorites because I see it as a highly enlightened way of viewing education as well as an extremely humble perspective of learning.

Convocation & Graduation
These events are the only two times the entire class will be seated together. At Convocation, the President formally welcomes the entering class to the University, the Honor Code is signed, and perhaps a surprise or two might arise from mysterious places. The students sit facing the Rotunda, the heart of the University and Jefferson's original library. During Graduation, students process down the Lawn to Old Cabell Hall and sit facing away from the Rotunda. Both of these events are highly symbolic: the former represents the beginning of the quest for knowledge, while the latter involves the students walking out into the wider world with the skills they've acquired.

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