Dear Members of the College:
Woody Allen is said to have remarked, "Eighty percent of success is showing up."
By that standard we face big challenges in succeeding as a college. We are not showing up except in barely respectable numbers for our Sunday college dinners. We are not showing up, apart from a small regular group, for our weekly college teas on Tuesday afternoons. We are not showing up--but for the smallest possible fraction of our membership--at either morning or evening prayer in Robbins Chapel.
I understand how busy schedules are, I know that not everyone can attend every event, and I realize that the measure of our success as a college is not perfectly definable in terms of how many people participate in given activities. Nevertheless:
- each of us made a promise, upon acceptance into the college, to invest our lives in one another through regular participation in college activities;
- routine absences at the college's marquee events reflects poorly on our commitment to one another; and
- absenteeism causes us lost opportunities to enjoy and learn from one another, to build deeper friendships and lasting traditions, and to prepare ourselves to leave behind a legacy that others will cherish.
I am personally saddened to look at the unbelievably talented members of our college, to think about the ways that we could throw ourselves into a more tightly-knit and rewarding collegiate community, and to acknowledge the stark gap between our tremendous potential and the reality.
So, I am writing to you frankly because I care too much about you and the college to watch idly as we squander an opportunity for a better way of life together in Brooks College.
If you are a freshman and you have not yet rallied around the commitments you made upon acceptance into the college, I invite you to live up to your promises during these last six weeks of the year. Time is short, but the clock has not yet expired on your first year! If you are a sophomore or junior, thus comprising the time-tested backbone of the college, I ask you to challenge and encourage others to follow you, and to inspire one another to do better than we have. If you are a senior ready to graduate in May, I challenge you to finish your time with us memorably and inspiringly, helping us to remember you affectionately and well after you're gone.
As always, I invite you to help me lead us in a way that fulfills the best aspirations we can share for the college. I am thrilled to be among you--so much so that I want us to be better than we presently are. I hope that you share that hope and that you will do your part on behalf of it.
All the best,
Douglas V. Henry
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Honors College
Master, Brooks Residential College