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What Love and Honor should really mean

By Eric Niehaus, For The Miami Student

I looked up what Miami's 'Love and Honor' slogan means and here it is verbatim: "The finest tradition of all being the Love we hold in our hearts for our college day and the Honor we feel in continuing our support of Miami." It's a warm, heartfelt sentiment.

Candidly, I thought it would be more of a commentary on the love we have for one another and the honor each Miamian so boldly embodies. I thought it would be a noble appeal to all that we aspire to be. But it's nothing more than a statement of fact, which, granted, isn't inherently a bad thing; it just left me flat.

I'm not here to disparage love of college days or the pride we feel in representing Miami -quite the opposite, actually. Instead, I'd like to see the meaning behind our familiar slogan to be extended. Let it be Love for our college days not just because we had fun in college, but also because we loved each other, respected each other. Let it be Honor for the high standards of morality and ethics we reverently observed. Let Love and Honor be not another platitude, a hollow attempt at encapsulating the college experience, but rather let it be declaration to employers, other universities and to each other of the unwavering commitment and dedication we have to a set of ideals.

When you look around campus, do you see Love? Love for the experience, sure, but not necessarily for each other. That Love - the love of the experience - is highly personalized, specialized to the individual, with no prerequisite of inclusion. People walk down the streets of this campus not knowing a single friendly face, no welcoming smile. Does this seem overly sentimental? Of course. But should it? No.

Why is love for one another, even a simple smile, such an audacious notion? Why is it that it's weirder for a stranger to smile and say hello than it is for one to slam the door on our face or not say "Thank you" when we hold it open for them? Are we really that focused on ourselves that we can't take the two seconds necessary to make someone's day a little bit brighter?

Nothing would make me feel more Honor in continuing my support of Miami than if Miami came to be known as a place of Love - true Love, not the incredibly narrow and individualized version touted on our website. That is a school I could stand behind. As it is right now - granted, not specific to Miami, alone - there is no Love. I find it incredibly difficult to stand proudly behind a university that has come to be known for discrimination, bullying, hazing, apathy, sexual assault, and the like. We have some great programs and our teachers are fantastic, but those do little to make up for everything else. Moreover, those positives have hardly anything to do with Love.

What is perhaps most bothersome is not the bullying, not the hazing and not anything else that revolves around negative action. What is most disappointing is the lack of positive action. When was the last time a stranger smiled at you? When was the last time someone did anything kind for you with no possibility of repayment?

Farmer is known for being competitive, but I think all of university is competitive. And I think it has left us cold. We see each other as competition, threats to our future. We may verbally wish well, but those seemingly good intentions are undercut but a hidden, but no less potent desire for us to succeed, even at the expense of that very person whom we wished well.

Look, this isn't difficult. In fact, it might be the easiest, most natural thing we can do. Were we born cold and willingly ignorant of others' pains? Of course not. We were born joyful and loving, caring for one another. We've been socialized to isolate ourselves and keep a tight circle, lest we get infected with the meek, unsuccessful, or awkward. But that's crap. The greatest people to have ever lived on this earth included everyone; the worst people excluded.

We're all Miamians, whether we feel like we fit in or not, so 'Love and Honor' applies to each and every one of us. Let's not have it so that it only means Love of our individual experience and our individual Honors; let's make it Love of our collective experience and our collective Honor. To teach that Love can be individually experienced is antithetical to the true nature of what Love is. Let's make love universal, for everyone.

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