By Faith Isbell

Southern Virginia University this week is celebrating its core values with the school’s sixth annual Honor Week.

As the week kicked off on Monday afternoon with a guest speaker, students prepared to focus each day on one of the five values: scholarship, refinement, accountability, service and enthusiasm.

“It’s a lovely week,” said April Harris, the university’s student life department coordinator.

“We want everyone to learn more about what it means to be a Knight,” she said, referring to the the school’s nickname for its students, “and we focus on those particular values that we think are very important.”

Students at Southern Virginia University were offered free haircuts on Wednesday to promote the university’s dress and grooming standards.

SVU, located in Buena Vista, is a liberal arts college dedicated to embracing the values of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Students are expected to abide by the university’s standards of conduct, which include dress and grooming standards, the community bill of rights and the code of honor.

On Tuesday night, students attended a “refinement night” in the Main Hall’s historic ballroom, where they learned about art, music, refinement and proper etiquette.

Student Body President Ammon Milligan, ‘17, said the event taught students how to “enjoy the finer things in life.”

“Being refined makes you a well-rounded individual,” Milligan said. “You have to be able to fit into any social situation. We want to make the students feel that they have the skills required to be better.”

Students were invited to return on Wednesday afternoon for free haircuts, and Milligan said that the event stressed the importance of being clean and well groomed—both in the workplace and in life.

“We want to set [our students] up to enter the business world—to feel prepared and to have that uplifting experience,” said Milligan, who, along with his fellow students, enjoyed hot chocolate courtesy of local eatery Jonzzey’s Café later in the evening.

On Thursday, students were encouraged to embrace the value of service, and Harris said that this day, in particular, is important to the university’s mission.

“It’s the day we focus on the most,” Harris said. “It’s part of our mission to prepare leader-servants for the workplace, community and church.”

Throughout the day, students were offered the opportunity to write thank-you letters to professors, parents and friends.

“We feel that [our students] should have a zest for life and be enthusiastic in all that they do,” Harris said.

Classes were to be canceled on Friday to allow students, faculty and administration to come together for a forum featuring SVU alumnae Bethany Anderson, ‘07, and Olivia Anne Ekberg, ‘19.

Anderson is a family therapist in Arizona and currently works at the Anasazi Foundation, a wilderness therapy program in Tonto National Forest that serves troubled teens and adults. She considers SVU to be the “home of her heart,” and said that she returns to her alma mater to impart to younger generations of students the lessons she has learned throughout her career.

Ekberg is a freshman from Arizona who spent 10 years as a synchronized swimmer at the Olympic level. In her address on Friday, Ekberg will re-define the “Olympic dream” by sharing why she gave up her career as a swimmer to focus on her own mental health.

“We feel that [our students] should have a zest for life and be enthusiastic in all that they do,” Harris said.

“People appreciate real stories,” Harris said.

The week’s events are expected to draw to a close on Saturday evening at the Honor Ball, a formal event set to feature live jazz band Apple Butter Soul out of Lynchburg, Virginia. Swing dance lessons were offered earlier in the week to help students prepare for the festivities.
Jill Stevenson, ‘18, has attended the Honor Ball for the past two years.

“The Honor Ball is unlike any other dance I’ve been to,” Stevenson said. “Everyone just feels a sense of decorum.”

Tickets are free, and students are invited to bring dates. In an effort to encourage students to share a meal afterwards, only drinks are being served at the event.

But even after the curtain closes on the university’s sixth annual Honor Week, students like Milligan will continue to celebrate SVU’s values.

“It’s calming to know that everything you’re doing and the standards you’re choosing to uphold are going to make you a better person in the long run,” Milligan said. “It’s all-encompassing.”

Exit mobile version