My name is Erin. My roots are in PA but I have been a student at VT for almost six years. I graduated with a degree in HNFE, concentrating in dietetics. Currently, I’m pursuing my graduate degree in the same department, conducting research on artificial sweetener intake. With 4 months left in Blacksburg, I am excited to continue exploring my professional interests which include nutrition, health, mindfulness, and exercise.
I believe VT Principles of Community are all-inclusive and represent the spirit of VT. Principles are different from laws in that they cannot be enforced however they serve as great reminders to us all, even in times of hardship, to remain open-minded to those who are different from us. The university’s acknowledgement of previous exclusion indicates initiative/effort to move forward in a positive/inclusive way. It’s a great way to acknowledge previous pitfalls which says a lot about the university’s integrity. It could even be an effort to start a conversation about it, which usually allows people to feel more comfortable in speaking openly with each other. This brings me to the principle I find most fascinating:
We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression within a climate of civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.
I think we live in a time where people are afraid to say how they feel. People fear they might hurt others’ feelings and say something that might not be “politically correct.” If we can learn to accept each other’s differences and perspectives and really make an effort to understand each other, we might end up getting along a lot better, despite our opposing views on things.