The Utah State University Student Association (USUSA) includes every student at USU. Professor Lianne Wappett recently said to a group of scholars, “No one is an imposter; I truly believe you belong here.” I extend her words to everyone within our student association. We not only welcome you, we need your 100% authentic self. You have something unique to offer, and our university would be a lesser place without you.
The USUSA officers, your student government, work to provide a vibrant college experience through carrying on traditions, creating events, and supplying resources and involvement/leadership opportunities. Please consider getting involved in USUSA and engaging with opportunities outside of the classroom. I’ve witnessed the hard work of our USUSA officers/committee members and other organizations. I’ve personally experienced the growth that comes from participating in these roles, and I know they can benefit you as well.
You may have reservations about applying yourself within involvement opportunities stemming from fear of rejection. I encourage you to still put yourself out there because I’m a firm believer that you don’t lose; you learn.
I gained an insight into USU involvement in my economics courses. We’ve discussed game theory, and more specifically, the situation of a zero-sum game. This is when one player’s gain is equal to another’s loss. There’s never a change in the total net wealth or benefit of the game. I would argue that USU involvement is not a zero-sum game. If someone puts time into an application or project, and it doesn’t work out, they still benefit from their preparation and experience. Also, the involvement game is constantly expanding! New positions, organizations, clubs, etc. are popping up left and right. When a fellow Aggie succeeds and contributes to the university, the value of everyone’s experience here increases. So we have every reason to support our peers and celebrate their successes.
One of my favorite traditions, which I’m so happy was able to happen this year, is the luminary, put on by Student Orientation & Transition Services. Among other aspects of the ceremony, USU 1010 Connections students receive Old Main lanterns and the “A” light turns blue. I learned just how personal and intimate this ceremony really is from a recent conversation I had with Dr. Mitchell Colver, professional practice professor and designer of the Old Main lantern. The luminary “tells students that they matter as individuals.” By giving each student something of their own and lighting the “A” light blue, signaling victory, it communicates that “Old Main represents you. This 'A' light is your light. You own this.”
We’ve all enjoyed the resurgence of events and traditions over the last few weeks, especially our freshmen and re-freshmen, who are experiencing many of the highlights of college life for the first time. One friend said it best, “There’s a palpable sense of joy on campus.” Amidst the happiness, there’s also an underlying concern with growing COVID case counts. Luckily, there are individual decisions that each of us can make to help keep each member of our University community safe and well, thus enhancing the Aggie experience.
Please get vaccinated, and if you already are, please upload your vaccination record at: aggiehealth.usu.edu. I honestly think that the cost, time, and risk of becoming vaccinated is generally minuscule relative to the benefits for one’s own health and that of our university community.
Also, please wear face-coverings inside campus buildings, classes, and at university events. This immensely increases the likelihood these activities can continue in person. If you have questions regarding the university’s position on face coverings and other COVID-related topics, please reference: usu.edu/covid-19.
I want to emphasize that our university’s compassionate leaders care about us and want to see us safely enjoy college. By receiving the gift of in-person classes and events, I think it’s ungrateful for us not to do our part to ensure their continuation. Everyone individually plays a part in the safety of our university. We’re a team, an Aggie Family; we think, care, and act.
Our fight song goes, “Hail the Utah Aggies. We’ll play the game with all our might… We’re out to win, so fight, fight, fight!” We are all engaged in the fight against this ongoing virus. Our victories may not be as conclusive and visible as turning the “A” light blue, but your contributions and sacrifices are vital. It’s incredible to see everyone on campus again, so let’s get involved and safely enjoy this year together!