This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in an uplifting event. I attended the 10th Annual Stand Up Award Ceremony held by the Rock Ethics Institute to honor and promote Ethical Leadership. I was invited to speak on behalf of Hayly Hoch (http://sites.psu.edu/standuppsu/hayly-hoch/) a student award winner who is dedicated to sustainable agriculture and bringing an understanding of food systems to all Penn State students. She was one of the dedicated students that helped to get the Penn State Student Farm in the ground (as opposed to off the ground). PPEM faculty had a chance to visit this valuable resource last week. As an interloper in Hayly’s story, I was delighted to meet her family and mentors and see how her trajectory brought her to this outcome. It is her authenticity above all else that drives her to lead in this area.
Each of the awardees have done something significant for Penn State and other communities. Each faced opposition or difficulties in achieving their goals and persevered. In speaking about Hayly, I said I had witnessed her resilience. Although many of their ideas had been rejected, they moved forward with positive energy to find ways to make their projects work. They didn’t dwell on these losses but plotted what could be successful. I keep this in mind and use it as inspiration when the wind has been taken out of my sails by disappointments that inevitably come when we reach to become more than we currently are.
One thing that I truly appreciate about our department is that our students, staff, and faculty Stand Up for what they are passionate about. Some take a nuanced approach of asking questions out of genuine curiosity and others give fiery commentary. Regardless, it is clear that the reasons that members of our department Stand Up is because we care about the people and the program and we remain truly invested in the greater good. We are at our best when we give space to listen to each other and are open to the idea that our perspectives can change when given quality information and sound logic about alternatives.
If you would like a little inspiration to help you Stand Up, watch this video about the former award winners: https://youtu.be/GjNcV7X78gQ
Thank you all for serving as my inspiration, you keep me standing!